There are two problems that most avocado growers have when going out into the field to pick their product: safety issues and access. Don Rust has created a platform called the ATP (All Terrain Platform), which will hopefully eliminate both problems. According to Bay of Plenty Times, his invention is off to a good start.

It was the industry’s concern about how to safely and effectively harvest fruit from trees which can grow up to 8m that led Don to seek a solution.

His answer, a machine which looks like something out of science fiction, had its first public outing at the January Katikati Avocado Food and Wine Festival.

There it was displayed with opposing wheels mounted on large blocks of timber, tilting the axles to around 15° while the platform remained level, graphically illustrating the machine’s self-levelling ability despite an uneven terrain.

Michael Darling of AvoWorks, a company which contract picks avocados, worked closely with Don on the design of the ATP giving him information on orchard conditions and the needs of pickers operating the equipment.

“There is nothing else quite like it available and it should overcome some of the safety issues we have within the industry,” he said.

Photo by marya