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Robots lending a helping hand on Australia's farms

Al Jazeera

For a change, Kevin Sanders has decided to let someone, or more accurately, something else count the apples in his orchard. This isn't the first time his idyllic farm down in Australia's Yarra Valley has played host to robots and their handlers, so Sanders knows what to expect. Moving soundlessly down the corridors between trees, an electric robot will scan each plant, identifying individual fruit and flowers. An algorithm is then used to classify and count the apples in each image and provide a yield estimation, a critical figure for farmers that will inform Sanders' plans to manage his orchards and the harvest. A fourth generation farmer, Sanders and his brothers have an interest in innovation that has created an unconventional operation.