Company Claims its Cannabis Seeking Bots Can Outharvest Human Labor 2-to-1
One thing that most experts can agree on is that the future of labor, both in America and abroad, is in automation.
As the cost of convenience (luxuries like Amazon Prime, streaming video, etc) continue to drive the prices of everything toward some never before seen rock bottom, many industries are coming to realize what the auto industry figured out decades ago.
Machines don’t need to eat, they don’t need to sleep, they don’t need smoke breaks, they don’t need health benefits, they don’t need paid vacations, they don’t need maternity leave or sick days, and you sure don’t have to worry about their inconvenient feelings or human emotions. They just work.
There are many industries that, quite honestly, should be automated sooner rather than later. We’re lookin’ at you, realtors, lenders, appraisers! But, on the other hand, there are some tasks that truly benefit from a personal touch.
One of those essentially human jobs has always been harvesting cannabis.
There are many companies out there who have tried to perfect just one phase of the harvest through automation with mechanical auto-trimmers. But any time or labor saved usually comes at the cost of the machine beating the shit out of the buds and leaving you with damaged goods.
Depending on your crop cycle, that might be months and months of work on that specific plant, day in and day out, just to cut corners at the very end and fuck it all up.
That is why, to this day, a wook chick and a pair of Fiskers snips are still the preferred method of trimming for some of the finest herbs on the planet.
But one company claims to have dialed in the tech for automating the harvesting of the cannabis plant, and they are not waiting until trim time to flip the switch on their weedbots.
Automation is already sweeping the mainstream agricultural sector and a company called Bloom Automation sees big potential, and big money, in the fast growing cannabis market.
Bloom has created a machine that they say can quickly and accurately harvest cannabis flowers, or buds, directly from the branch with what the company claims will soon be a 2-to-1 efficiency over human labor.
Their robotic harvesting contraption uses the latest in digital pathfinding technologies to quickly locate clusters of buds. It then accurately measures depth with a backlit time of flight camera, and triangulates the equation with a machine vision camera.
With this data, the bot can separate the image in front of it – the cannabis plant itself – into 3 categories: branch, leaf, and flower.
Using a form of artificial intelligence, the machine is ‘taught’ what to look for by accessing an ever-growing internal database of over 6,000 images of different branches, leaves, and flowers.
Bloom calls this the machine’s “neural network” and they say that their bots are now 97% accurate (the rest might be Mystery Oil, but that is unconfirmed by Matt Rize).
Bloom says that within 8 months of purchase, 6 of their robots can replace 12 human counterparts for a full return on investment.
And that, my friends, is the cost of convenience.
As California follows Oregon in a race to the bottom on wholesale cannabis prices, companies will claim that they “had no choice” but to fire their human staff and replace them with automated alternatives.
What will those twelve people do now that six bots took their job?
Bloom isn’t all that concerned about that now are they?