Lettuce: First to automate the cutting of a lettuce head from the rest of the plant. [A lot has...

...already been automated in lettuce harvesting.  What follows is what is left to automate.]  To win this challenge (and its future challenges), the invention must be operated on a lettuce farm at harvesting time and successfully operate without error for 100 hours of continuous work.  Also, to win this challenge (and Future Challenges #1 through #8), the program must include a learning algorithm, must transmit at least once per operational day what it has learned to the company that developed the program, and download updates from that central server.

Future Challenges: First to automate:

1) Removing bottom leaves of the lettuce head.

2) Identifying and discarding bad heads.

3) Individually plastic wrapping the heads.

4) Putting them into the slot for the machine to put them in boxes.

5) Lifting and packing boxes onto trucks that follow alongside the machine.

6) First automated machine to do all the above plus what has already been automated.

7) First automated machine to do all the above at the speed (mph) of:

  1. 1
  2. 5
  3. 10
  4. 20

8) First automated machine that does Future Challenge #7 and autonomously drives itself around the fields.

9) First major commercial lettuce farm (at least 1,000 acres of lettuce) to only harvest with the above automated harvester (Future Challenge #8 harvester) for three seasons.

If you would like to discuss this challenge with others, click here to go to this challenge's discussion forum.

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