Robots emerging as agricultural co-workers

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Vege-bot Lettuce Harvester (University of Cambridge), 3D imaging project for robotic harvesting (University of Lincoln)

The technology is mature and ready for the field, say experts

Advanced engineering could be the solution for the sustainable intensification of agriculture, as technology for producing service robots reaches maturity.

Experts in robotics from University of Cambridge, University of Lincoln and Harper Adams University will be discussing the latest developments during Agri-Tech East’s Pollinator event on 11 October 2016.

So what exactly is a robot?  Continue reading Robots emerging as agricultural co-workers

Robotic lettuce harvester prototype wins farming award

softharvest

The UK’s first national agricultural technology business plan competition has been won by a lettuce-picking robot 

It is estimated that over 60 per cent of the production cost of a lettuce is in the manual harvesting. Automating this process would allow producers to be more competitive and respond faster to demand. 

SoftHarvest, working closely with G’s Growers, one of the UK’s largest vegetable producers, has developed a robotic handler with vision recognition that is set to revolutionise this £300 million market across the UK, France and Spain.

SoftHarvest was selected as the student winner of Grow, the UK’s first national agri-tech business plan competition.  Continue reading Robotic lettuce harvester prototype wins farming award

Raspberry Pi could help farmers manage crops better and more cheaply than current systems, say scientists

Rasperry Pi computers are being used to manage crops on farms
Scientists are using Raspberry Pi computers to manage large-scale farms

Raspberry Pi may be strongly associated with hobbyists, but now it’s been recruited as a farm hand. 

Inventors of the credit-card sized computers have shipped more than 5 million units at less than $50 each since launch in 2012. Most of them have found their way into toy cars and other devices.

But now a team of researchers has integrated Raspberry Pi into what’s called an “automated field phenomics” system, or what could be thought of as a sophisticated scarecrow. And the team claims their system will cost a fraction of the phenotyping solutions currently on the market.  Continue reading Raspberry Pi could help farmers manage crops better and more cheaply than current systems, say scientists

Connected avocado helps farmer cut costs by 75 per cent

connected avocado

Farmer slashes water consumption by three-quarters at IoT connected avocado farm 

Avocado trees which are monitored around the clock and get irrigated only when needed are enabling a farmer to make dramatic costs savings. 

The farmer uses the internet of things (IoT) to reduce water consumption by 75 per cent and gets put under utility surveillance for suspected meter tampering as a result. 

The IoT is destined to touch every aspect of human endeavour making factories smarter, supply chains intelligent and now farms such as the first connected avocado farms, saving farmers vast amounts of water in growing avocados in the process.  Continue reading Connected avocado helps farmer cut costs by 75 per cent

Harvest Automation sells robotic warehouse business to focus on agriculture

harvest automation hv-100
Harvest Automation’s flagship product, the HV-100 autonomous robotic vehicle

Harvest Automation has sold its robotic warehouse automation technology and business to focus on robotic material handling in a variety of agriculture markets.

Harvest developed what it says are “groundbreaking robotic systems” for e-commerce order fulfillment over the last year and a half.

The company had completed a small fleet of robots that demonstrated a three-fold increase in order picking efficiency.  Continue reading Harvest Automation sells robotic warehouse business to focus on agriculture

Robots from Mars to help reduce the environmental impact of farming

stfc ral space AgriRovers
The AgriRovers developed by STFC RAL Space, designed for Mars, could be used as farm robots on Earth

Martian robots – or more accurately, robot technology designed for use on Mars – could help improve crop yields on Earth, according to researchers. 

A system developed originally to explore Mars has been transformed into an agricultural monitoring device for testing the quality of soil. It has the potential to reduce the environmental impact of farming.

The device consists of a mobile rover platform with a robotic arm which carries a soil sensing instrument. It is based on technology developed by the UK-based Science and Technology Facilities Council’s Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (STFC RAL) Space, and will be used in a new project being run by a team at the University of Strathclyde.  Continue reading Robots from Mars to help reduce the environmental impact of farming