Large farms rely on high technology solutions to increase farm yield and optimize harvest. Rapid development in technology has introduced automated technology and robotics. The robots help increase yield while reducing labor costs. Innovative functions include pruning, livestock applications, sheep shearing, automated tractors, fruit pickers.
Designs are geared towards specific functions and repetitiveness. The reduce labor costs Designs include grippers, pickers, sprayers, manipulators, movement and croppers.
Agricultural robots applications
There are many applications for agricultural robots based on functionality. Robots generally a repetitive, accurate, automatic miller. They require minimum supervision to function optimally.
Many are used in the seeding, harvesting and picking process. They are very effective due to accuracy, speed with little waste. Common robotic applications are found in weed control, sorting and packaging. Others are picking, pruning, spraying or thinning. More are phenotyping, utility platform and mowing.
- picking process
- weed control
- utility platform
Robot applications face some salient challenges like navigation, flexibility. Others are accuracy, advanced visual system, delicate sensors. They are rather pricey, difficulty in obtaining parts and require regular maintenance. Some operators require adequate training to work the machinery.
- Use of advanced visual system
- delicate sensors
- difficulty in obtaining parts
- require regular maintenance
- operators require training
Types of Field Robots in Agriculture
There are different types of field robots in agriculture. The type of robot depends on the specific function it is designed to perform. There are robots used for cropping, harvesting, weeding.
Fruit harvesting robots: Harvesting is an integral part of the farming process. It is labor intensive requires long hours and is prone to wastage. There are fruit harvesting robots with advanced vision system to identify and gravest fruits. While cropping robots are used to conduct field work harvesting crops.
Crop nursery robots: are used to automate the nursery process in large green houses. Highly automated they generally move crops around.
Herding robots: are found in the livestock industry. They generally monitor livestock, ensure grazing and herd livestock.
Weed control robots reduces a farmers exposure to harmful herbicides. They autonomously carry out targeted spraying activity of herbicides to kill weeds.
Pollution monitoring robot: monitor ground level pollution by measuring the presence of nitrous oxide emissions and carbon dioxide. While some use autonomous monitoring system to monitor photosynthetic activity, soil respiration and other biological factors.
Gripper robots consist of two mechanical finger used to grasp crops during harvesting.
Types of Agriculture Robots
- Robot software
- ACFR RIPPA Sprayer
- LettuceBot(Thinning lettuce)
- Casmobot(slope mower)
- Agrobot(strawberry picker)
List of Companies who have developed Agricultural robots
There are many technology companies that develop agricultural robots. Some are HoriBot with plant nursert robot,ROS Agriculture-open source software for robotic systems. more are ACFR-swagBot, RIPPA and Digital farmhand for spraying, seeding and weeding. Others are Lettuce Bot, Fieldbot, Strawberry picking, solar powered robotand Root A1 tomato picker.