IndustryTap has speculated on the future of farming in Vertical Farming Factories, Is this the New Face of Farming?, and Freight Farms, and while each of these types of farming will have its place in the sun, robot-driven farming will most likely take over the largest share of food production in coming decades. From robots that can pick and pack fruit to self-driving tractors that can see much more than Joe the Farmer, agriculture in the future is bound to be unrecognizable.
AgBot II, for example, developed at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in Australia, is using sensor networks, drones, weather, satellite and historical data to help “farmers” run mathematical models and statistical programs to help guide farm management decisions such as whether to use herbicides, pesticides, fertilizers and how much water plants should be given.
Lightweight, Autonomous, Energy-Efficient AgBots
At QUT’s Gardens Point campus, AgBot II demonstrates its capabilities. Agbots, still in prototype, are outfitted with sensors and operated using software and work individually or in groups. Vision sensors, for example, allow robots to “see” whether a plant is a weed or a rose and chemically or mechanically take action in support of or against the plant.
According to QUT researchers, robots will allow farms to be run more speedily and efficiently, saving money by more accurately applying fertilizers and water while better managing crop plantings, care, and harvesting.
The following video is from the 2015 trials of AgBot.
References and related content:
- Robots Podcast: Zero Tillage Robotics | Robohub
- Queensland University of Technology (via noodls) / 15-11-2014 | Indian PM inspects QUT’s AgBot II
- The farmers of the future will be all robots