Purdue also has apple tree pruning in its sights. That project will model trees and how they should be pruned, with the aim of beginning design work on a robotic pruner.
Actually building a robotic apple pruner, however, will have to wait for another round of grants, researchers say. Once the difficult work on an apple pruner is done, though, it should be easier to tweak the technology for plums, peaches, cherries and other tree fruit.
It’s all still a ways down the road, but growers can hope.
And at the rate immigration reform is going, who knows — Congress may pass landmark legislation the same month growers put in the first generation of robot pruners. (Circa 2018?)