I’m really excited and proud of the progress our team at Harvest Croo Robotics is making, and it isn’t going unnoticed. We were recently featured on (my favorite morning news program) CBS This Morning.
Correspondent, Errol Barnett and I conversed about how critical the autonomous solution is to not only the strawberry industry, but the produce industry as a whole. The shifting of demographics and economics has led us to the shrinking labor pool we have today. While the short-term fix of H2A, a government guest worker program, is helping right now, it isn’t a long-term solution. If we don’t solve this through automation, it will lead to cataclysmic consequences for the industry.
It was impressive to see our robot picking strawberries in the field in front of a national audience. We have come a long way since 2013. We aren’t there yet, but we are going to get to the finish line. There will always be challenges and setbacks when you are developing a new technology, let alone the Herculean task that a robotic strawberry picker faces.
It is easy to get frustrated when you face obstacles and setbacks, especially with a project that I very much want to see be successful. But, I have to keep reminding myself that we are learning and get better after every mistake.
All you need do is look at SpaceX’s recent successful test flight with Falcon Heavy. It took a lot of failures in five years to get them to that big, successful moment. There were lots of miscalculations leading to big (expensive) explosions. But, out of failure came success.
Harvest Croo Robotics has one pretty big advantage over SpaceX: when we miscalculate, our robot doesn’t blow up. We are headed for great things, as long as we don’t explode.