One of five featured smart farm technologies in our precision agriculture series
Small autonomous robots work in teams carrying out a range of tasks enabling the tailored cultivation of each individual seedling by precise application of resources.
Some are capable of microdot application of fertiliser or water similar to an inkjet printer, reducing fertiliser costs by 99.9%.
Others carry out laser weeding, dispensing with the costs and environmental impacts associated with herbicide use.
Crop robots like the Broccoli Bot are specifically designed to harvest broccoli, a crop still predominantly harvested by hand. Using 3D vision harvesting the robot identifies saleable characteristics, only collecting valuable parts of the plant.
Aside from reducing labour costs, this cuts waste by 60%. Such robots have the potential to transform the most laborious and physically demanding tasks in agriculture, leading to a significant impact on the workforce.
Importantly, the agribot is the key to ensuring this is a revolution for the family farm. These small machines efficiently manage small, oddly shaped fields and will not require hedgerows to be taken out like other agricultural tools.
Their small size and light weight means they can work in all-weather, avoiding soil erosion.
Potentially they could work all day and all night - a 24/7 service. Currently most of this technology is in early development or being trailed, but its implementation is fundamental to precision agriculture.