June 24, 2021

WG’s Robotics Experts Advance Tech Stack 1.0 of Global Harvest Automation Initiative

The subject matter experts (SMEs) of the Western Growers Global Harvest Automation Initiative (GHAI) gathered for a two-day conference on Tuesday and Wednesday this week to build Tech Stack 1.0.

The conference, which was held in Mountain View, Calif., was comprised of two tracks: tech track and platform/grower-producer track.

The tech track focused on key hardware and software architecture elements for Tech Stack 1.0 (a documented set of technical interfaces that will help startups leverage industry-standard components so their robots can get into fields and markets faster) and how to integrate the stack into the harvest automation startup roadmaps in the GHAI cohort. Tech Stack 1.0 is on track to release in July.

The platform/grower-producer track focused on essential platform elements (including ISOBUS and data movement standards) and harvest economics for lettuce, apples and table grapes.

The SMEs also participated in one large group discussion focused on what the Sentinel Project would be. The winning project was a hardware component that would include a standard set of connectivity, safety and integration options that would allow startups to focus their efforts on end effectors (the things that pick the fruit or vegetables) and artificial intelligence code to convert images into instructions for the robot.

“We put together a good draft of the technical requirements of the project and will spend the next few weeks working through the details,” said Walt Duflock, vice president of innovation at Western Growers.

With California reopening, this was the first time the SMEs were able to get together in person after two months of virtual meetings.

“The group enjoyed the chance to see everyone in person, including dinners at Greek Spot and Faultline Brewery. This event should help lead to a really productive last month of development effort for Tech Stack 1.0,” said Duflock.