The Australian centre for field robotics at the university of Sydney has focused for several years of employing agricultural robots. As so close to Asia, the country hopes to make it the main supplier of food for the increasing population in the region.
The project envisions robots that would continuously take samples of soil from around individual plants and inject a precise amount of fertilizer. This new technology could reduce the amount of chemicals by more than fifty percent, as well as toxicity that often ends up in rivers.
As land often has to support more people than it originally would support, as the world’s population increases year after year, arable land will be used more often using technology as described much more efficiently than people labor. As well in countries where ecosystems have been damaged.
California state has machines that shake almond trees, another machine takes the almonds that are on the ground. California’s pickers have moved to this due to nuts because they still require laborers rather than using a machine.
How ever this also brings up the reoccurring problem of former land laborers having to move to a city to look for new employment, only then to see the full scale of other areas affected by automation.
Who runs a farm today?
Or is the question, how many work on a farm today?
Farming was the main form of employment, and sustenance, for many centuries. The first sector to change because of machinery was this one. While it has remained labor intensive due to the nature of this type of work. Other areas of it have also remained the same, with vegetables grown they require high perception and handling with care. Fruits and vegetables can easily be damaged and are selected on the softness and colour of them.
For example berry picking is still done using a vehicle with sorters who ride on the back, almost like a small dump truck. The driver drives five miles per hour and the vehicle has a grab mechanism that shakes the berries off the branches.
For a robot to take over this role in some independent way, lighting of the area and size of the vegetables would prove difficult to replace a laborer.
In San Diego, a company has been developing a machine to pick oranges. The robot’s computer will create a three dimensional image of a tree, store each orange’s location. Then the robotic arm’s will begin rapidly picking them.
Another start up
Harvest Automation, based in Boston. Originally focused to automate productions in greenhouses, the company estimates that manual labor makes up thirty percent of the cost of the work load. In the future the company thinks that robots could do up to forty percent of the labor now required in parts of North America as well Europe.
Smart robot picker
Picking cauli flower this season? Think again.
Field robotics teamed up with a French company called Bonduelle. The robot company was the first to create the raspberry picking robot, has now began efforts to expand further with a new picking robot that can pick cauli flower.
This new innovation can grip, cut neatly a cauli flower head. The robot works by three dimensional cameras, and sensors. It uses machine learning, an artificial intelligence system.