England’s only tea plantation has showcased the world’s first robotic tea harvester.
The ‘Teabot’ at Tregothnan in Cornwall, UK, claims to be the first-ever harvesting robot of its kind.
Powered by solar panels, the driverless vehicle was designed by an on-site engineer, Tom Gowan, 54, on behalf of Tregothnan – who have already put the machine into practice.
Photos of the giant, grey machine show it at work – driving over the top of the lines of English tea bushes
Managing director, Jonathon Jones OBE, 51, said: “It’s been a long time brewing, the world’s first robotic tea harvester has picking this week, powered by solar panels.”
“Teabot is a breakthrough for the whole tea industry around the world. It is the first driverless tea picker with onboard solar power.”
Mr. Jones said the robot was designed and built in Cornwall and is available for purchase with 12 weeks delivery – for £175,000 ($222,400 USD).
It has a range of five miles, which includes approximately 10,000 tea bushes.
He added: “The engineer behind the revolutionary robot, Tom, has been working on the project for many years.
“It’s been two years since the drawing board, but long before that we were coming up with ideas on how to make it work, creating intellectual property – it’s been a long road.
“The result has been amazing though. It is the first time a machine is able to pick tea at a higher quality than a human – and that’s really something.”
“Around the world, tea is a very manual industry. Quality is hard to get on machine than by hand, but the Teabot has incredibly precise snipping blades and a completely joined-up harvesting process that can pick around two tonnes of tea per charge.
“It’s been a great project, and has drummed up interest from across the tea world; even from as far afield as India, Japan and Africa.”
“There’s a lot of interest from the industry, and I think it goes to show that Britain remains the real home of tea – and that we’re a leading part of that.”
Now it’s the only place growing tea in England and has been home to the largest tea gardens in Europe for since 1999.
The house now boasts 26 miles of tea bushes, which thrive in a unique microclimate seven miles in-land of Cornwall’s ‘Mediterranean’-style coasts, with regular fog helping nurture the plants due to a nearby deep-sea creek.
Produced in association with SWNS Talker
“What’s the latest with Florida Man?”
Get news, handpicked just for you, in your box.