Students in Rome Design Drone for Harvesting Olives

The developers said the drone increased productivity, reduced costs and lowered emissions associated with the olive harvest.
Photo: Olivair
By Nedjeljko Jusup
Dec. 5, 2022 14:46 UTC

There is yet to be an ideal way of har­vest­ing olives. Manual har­vest­ing is slow. Meanwhile, olive grow­ers agree that har­vest­ing machines and var­i­ous types of shak­ers dam­age the branches.

The scars and wounds left by these meth­ods can cause olive can­cer, espe­cially if the har­vest takes place dur­ing wet or humid weather.

The OlivAir drone har­vested olives three times faster and reduced envi­ron­men­tal effects by using elec­tric­ity instead of pol­lut­ing fuels and avoid­ing tire con­tact with the tree- Diana Zagarella, co-founder, OlivAir

However, three stu­dents from the University of Roma Tre – Diana Zagarella, Dario Maroccu and Giacomo Longaroni – have devised a solu­tion to some of these olive har­vest­ing headaches.

The team pre­sented OlivAir at Prototypes for Humanity, a com­pe­ti­tion for grad­u­ate stu­dents held in Dubai.

See Also:Researchers Unveil the Latest Technologies to Help Harvest and Produce Olive Oil

OlivAir is an elec­tric drone that could rev­o­lu­tion­ize har­vest­ing by blow­ing olives off the branches using the wind gen­er­ated by its pro­pellers.

Our con­cept came from watch­ing olives fall off in severe gusts. [We thought], what if pro­duc­ers could con­trol the wind,” said Zagarella, the pro­jec­t’s co-founder and chief exec­u­tive.

OlivAir hov­ers above the grove and cre­ates the nec­es­sary wind con­di­tions to blow olives off selec­tively as they reach the ideal point of ripeness.

Zagarella said that olive grow­ers cur­rently rely on trac­tors to com­plete mechan­i­cal har­vests, which emit car­bon diox­ide, can poten­tially dam­age olive trees with their tires and are prone to flip over on steep slopes.

The shak­ing process is extremely slow and pol­lut­ing, and in mod­ern times, it is very dif­fi­cult to find sea­sonal work­ers,” Zagarella said.

The OlivAir drone har­vested olives three times faster and reduced envi­ron­men­tal effects by using elec­tric­ity instead of pol­lut­ing fuels and avoid­ing tire con­tact with the tree,” she added.

The researchers added that har­vest­ing with OlivAir resulted in 20 per­cent less olive wastage and esti­mated the tech­nol­ogy could increase pro­ducer prof­its by up to 30 per­cent.

According to inter­views, the olive grow­ers showed not only inter­est toward our drone, but also a gen­uine need,” Zagarella con­cluded. With OlivAir drone, the har­vest will become fast, effi­cient and pos­si­ble every­where.”



Related Articles

Feedback / Suggestions