How Robots are Lending a Hand in Shaping the Future of Farming

The agriculture industry is currently undergoing a rapid transformation as continuous technological innovation is on the rise. The advancements in new-age technologies such as AI, big data, IoT, drones and more have already revolutionized the farming process and are being leveraged to boost overall crop production. Now, robotics is making its presence into this complex sector, working on improving the future of agriculture.

Robots are enabling farmers to be more efficient, and productive when managing crops. They can pick apples, collect strawberries, harvest lettuce and thwart weeds. The explosion in population, the evolution of AI and the rise in new developments in robotics have driven the world of agricultural robots to explode with innovation.

Considering the report, the market of agricultural robots is expected to reach from US$7.4 billion in 2020 to US$20.6 billion by 2025, growing at a CAGR of 22.8 percent throughout the projected timeframe.

What Robots Can Do in Agriculture?

Robotics has reached a wide range of industries, redefining their work ethics and methodologies. As its innovation and capabilities have transformed many for the better, robots these days play an effective role in the field of farming.

Here are some ways where robots can lend their helping hands in shaping the future of farming.

Nursery Planting

While the world’s population is predicted to hit 9.8 billion in 2050, the demand for foods will be doubled. Thus, this requires to increase agricultural production to meet the rising demand globally. This need also made farmers or agriculturists to turn to robotics as an automation solution for the future. Today, there is a rising need for nursey automation where seeds are grown into young plants, which are later planted outside. This primary cropping process also requires the human workforce. So, robots here can help ease these challenges, making agricultural production more efficient and productive. Companies like Harvest Automation, FFRobotics, and more provide robotics solutions for seeding, potting and warehousing living plants in greenhouses.

Crop Monitoring and Analysis

The agricultural robot has the ability to transform data collection and field scouting for farmers, agronomists, and seed firms. As monitoring huge farmland is a crucial job, new sensor technology and geomapping systems can enable agriculturists to garner a much higher level of data regarding their crops. The TerraSentia crop phenotyping robot, for instance, which has developed by the University of Illinois scientists, is able to measure the traits of individual plants using various sensors, including cameras. It transmits the data in real-time to the operator’s phone or laptop. BoniRob, a robot developed by Bosch’s Deepfield Robotics, also provides even more detailed monitoring as this can get closer to the crops.

Crop Weeding and Spraying

Pulling out weeds from crops is one of the biggest issues in agriculture. To protect crops from them, farmers spray pesticides and weed killers onto fields which is not only extravagant, but can severely harm the environment. So, robots here provide a much more efficient method, reducing the amount of herbicide used in crop growing. Many tech companies are developing weed-killing robots that selectively poison weeds with microbursts of herbicides, increasingly reducing the amount of herbicides used by farmers. EcoRobotix, for instance, has designed an autonomous, 7-foot-wide robot equipped with a camera, GPS, AI system, and two robotic arms that apply herbicide when weeds are detected.

Crop Harvesting

With the growing demand of foods and rising innovation, robotics companies now are offering farmers the opportunity to significantly lessen the costs of manual labor for harvesting. As picking and harvesting crops, like soft fruits, are more intricate and require manual dexterity than harvesting crops like corn, barley, and others, the use of robotics can replace the seasonal manual work on farms. For instance, Abundant Robotics, which allows apple orchard farmers to pick apples using robots instead of seasonal pickers. Since apples require attention at harvesting, the robot from Abundant Robotics is designed to work with precision in harvesting and to store the apples. Robocrop is one another robot that is able to pick raspberry. After sizing it up for an age, the robot plucks the fruit with its gripping arm and deposits it into a waiting punnet cautiously.

So, from high-tech greenhouses to cloud seeding, agricultural robots are assisting agriculturists to fill the gaps in labor shortages. They can also automate slow, repetitive and tedious tasks for farmers, enabling them to focus more on improving overall production yields.