So, we don’t actually “pluck” the apples. We sort of bash them instead. Lacks a bit in finesse or elegance, but it’s simple, and pretty effective.
Basically, we have a “knocker” at the height of each branch. The knockers have fingers positioned at the location where the apple stems are on the branch (pretty handy that these trees have such consistently placed apples…).
The apples are attached to the tree with small magnets. When the robot approaches the tree, the fingers restrain the apples so they don’t “pivot” upwards too much, and the back knocker panels push them off the tree.
They fall into a “scoop” container at the front of the robot, and at the end of the run the robot returns to the barn, raises the scoop and dumps the apples.
Code and OpenSCAD files will be posted soon-ish.