Salah Sukkarieh

Smart Horticulture Asia, which brings together leading players from the region's fresh produce supply chain to discuss technology and horticulture from around the world, takes place alongside Asia Fruit Logistica 2018 in Hong Kong on 5-7 September.

Much like the first two successful editions in 2016 and 2017, the programme delivers top-notch speakers from leading companies at the crossroads of global technology and horticulture.

Professor Salah Sukkarieh, an international expert in the research, development and commercialisation of field robotic systems and the Professor of Robotics and Intelligent Systems at the University of Sydney in Australia, will speak on Thursday 6 September – a day dedicated to the subject of robotics in horticulture – with his session entitled 'Robots for fruit & vegetables: what's next?' Here, he gives a small taster of what to expect...

Good to speak with you Salah. Firstly, what is your role at the University?

Salah Sukkarieh: The Australian Centre for Field Robotics (ACFR), at the University of Sydney, is one of the world’s largest robotics groups that focuses on field robotics. Field robots are platforms that have to work outdoors 24/7 in all weather conditions.

I lead two major activities within the ACFR – the first is in agriculture robotics and the second in mining robotics. Both have very similar objectives in automation and learn from each other.

You are speaking in a session on ’Robots for Fruit & Vegetables - what’s next?’ Without giving too much away, what kind of things will you be discussing?

SS: I will be talking about the journey of robotics in agriculture with a focus on the activity that we have with the Australian Industry. I will be presenting different types of robotic platforms, why they were designed that way, the field trials, and the interaction with growers.

What do you hope delegates will take from your talk?

SS: I hope that delegates will get a better appreciation for the rapid technology development underway and the impact that robotics will have on on-farm production of food in the near to short term.

What else are you looking forward to seeing during smart Horticulture Asia or Asia Fruit Logistica in Hong Kong?

SS: I would like to get a better appreciation for the concerns of the Asian horticulture market, to understand whether they are similar to the Australian market, and if they are different then to understand what differences in the robotic solutions are required.