Technology is undergoing an unrestrained advance in the latest years. A few years ago, talking about robots was futuristic since they could only be seen in movies. However, nowadays it is in all the media that robots and technology are becoming more affordable and entering many industries. Read about the latest agriculture technology projects and share with us what changes you think this will bring.
The Agricultural Sector needs Technological Advances
Robotics usually come after an important investment, and some industries in which prices are low still have a long road ahead. One example is agriculture, where margins are very narrow. Therefore, there is no place for big investments, and, if there is not a lot of money, research on innovation simply does not happen. In consequence, this industry is starting to implement the first robots that help in the agriculture process, but there is still room for improvement.
Said improvement is utterly necessary, since the UN predicts that the world population will rise from 7,3 billion people today to 9,7 billion in 2050, so food production needs to be accelerated. In order to increase that production, sowing new fields will be probably not enough, so we need to improve the agriculture productivity.
Governments are starting to Take Action
For example, the European Union has funded at least 6 projects around robotic farming. These projects are still far from improving the whole process and are specially focused on land, field and crops inspection. What ’s more, they have had some issues with safety and regulation.
Ongoing Robotics Projects for Agriculture
Today we want to show you some of the most promising agriculture projects, which hopefully will derive in solutions that are more complete in a near future:
- Swinging robot: The sloth-inspired aerial robot named is designed to swing around on overhead wired to monitor growing crops without any human intervention
- Deepfield Robotics: This Bosch start-up have developed many different systems like a robot to treat weeds without using chemicals or different sensor networks to assure sustainable farming.
- Soil inspection: Based on technology that was developed for use in Mars, some researchers from the University of Strathclyde have developed a small robot with a robotic arm that can test the soil quality
- EU funded projects: The EU has funded different robotics projects. One example is the VineRobot project, which was developed by researchers from Spain, France, Italy and Germany. This project consist on an autonomous robot that can create a map of a vineyard with the obtained data regarding maturity of the grapes and nitrogen in the vine leaves. Another example is the RHEA project, in which a fleet of tractors and aerial robots with sensor systems discriminate weeds from crops and apply herbicides where needed.
These are only some examples, but there are many more projects around how to apply robotics to the agriculture industry. If you want to discuss this topic or learn from other engineers, check the conversation in the Automation and Robotics Forum.
Can you think on the next step for this industry? Prove your ideas right in our engineering challenges.