Agriculture Robots

Due to labor shortages and increased need to feed the global population agriculture robots are becoming common place for farmers.

drone-robot

October 10, 2018

Key drivers of this trend include:

  • Labor shortages decrease crop production by an estimated $3.1 billion a year in the USA alone – Source.
  • World population is expected to grow by over a third, or 2.3 billion people, between 2009 and 2050 – Source
  • Vision and machine learning technology that allows robots to see and train on their surroundings
  • Decreased costs of connected sensors
  • 40 percent of nationwide farm costs going to wages and other labor costs – Source

We are still in the early stages of an ag robotics revolution with most of the products still in early trial phases and R&D mode.

That being said we dive into the current applications and companies driving this industry forward below.

Drones / Aerial Imaging

Drones are one of the first robotic applications that farmers have adopted thanks to obvious applications like time and labor savings in not having to go out to visual checking on a crop.

These drones are equipped with multi-spectral and photo cameras that can monitor crop stress, plant growth and predict yields with more advanced drones able to carry and deliver payloads like herbicides, fertilizer, and water.

The drones can be utilized via a drone-as-a-service type operation with scheduled flyovers or can be stored on site and used as needed with weatherproof docking stations that allow the drones to recharge and send data back to be analyzed.

Multispectral Drone

Aerobotics

South Africa
Aerobotics offers an early pest and disease detection solution guided by drone and satellite imagery.

American Robotics

Cambridge United States
American Robotics is a drone developer specializing in agricultural automation.

Cainthus

San Francisco United States
Cainthus uses machine vision technology to monitor the health and well-being of crops and livestock.

FluroSat

Eveleigh Australia
FluroSat uses satellites, drones, and some aerial imagery, to capture and analyze hyperspectral images of crops to predict disease and help growers make decisions.

Hummingbird Technologies

London United Kingdom
Hummingbird Technologies uses drones to create its crop analysis software for farmers.

PrecisionHawk

Raleigh United States
PrecisionHawk develops drones, sensors and software for businesses to manage and monitor their assets.

Ag Drones Services
Looking for more UAV farming providers?

Spraying and Weeding Robots

Utilizing databases of weed images, these companies train their robots to detect and pluck weeds or apply pesticides directly on the weed itself and not the plant.

With a growing number of weeds become resistant to pesticides and the overall cost and use (estimated and 3 billion pounds of herbicides applied at a cost of $25B each year) this technology could be a huge boost to both the farmers bottom line and the environment.

Ecorobotix
https://www.ecorobotix.com/en/

Blue River Technology (Acquired by John Deere)

Sunnyvale United States
Acquired by John Deere, Blue River develops plant/weed targeting machine using machine vision and machine learning technology.

ecoRobotix

Yverdon-les-Bains Switzerland
ecoRobotix develops an autonomous solar powered weeding robot that uses 20x less herbicide than traditional machines.

FarmWise

San Francisco United States
FarmWise develops a weeding robot for vegetable farms that uses computer vision to identify weeds and robotics to remove them without herbicides.

Ibex Automation

Wortley United Kingdom
Ibex Automation develops autonomous agricultural robot systems for farmers, including an autonomous precision weed detection and spraying system for use in grassland.

Weeding and Spraying Ag Robotics
Looking for more automated weeding solutions?

Auto steering & Autonomous Navigation

Using GPS farmers can now enable their tractors and other farm equipment to automatically run in your fields or at the very least reduce fatigue while you are in the cab.

Most of these devices offer a high degree of accuracy (down to a few inches) and will automatically adjust to hilly terrain and improve over time if it picks up on any alignment issues, etc. Follow your tractors exact location and progress using your smartphone.

Current system rely on operators to map out an obstacles but this is quickly changing with machine learning and the machines will automatically avoid anything unusual.

Autosteering Tractors
https://www.handsfreefarm.com/solutions/wheelman-pro

AgJunction

Hiawatha United States
AgJunction LLC provides data management software and hardware for the agriculture industry. The company offers Web-based data management systems for field boundary management, asset management, fertility analysis, and zone creation, as well as client, far

Augmenta

Augmenta produces a plug-and-play device for tractors that allows farmers to analyze and automatically apply fertilizer control based on the camera crop analysis.

Trimble

New York United States
Trimble is known for GPS technology, but also offers end-to-end solutions for industrial applications.

Auto steering tractors and equipment
Looking for additional solutions?

Fruit Harvesting Robotics

Pick your crop 24/7 with robotic arms.

Crops that have an early focus on robotic harvesting include strawberries, cucumbers and orchard fruit like apples.

In the US in 2016 alone over 7 million tons of apples were picked by hand. Hourly wages continue to increase for this difficult job and labor shortages are a real problem. These innovation machines use a combination of image processing and robotic arms to determine what to pick. Quality control and grading of the fruit can be done in one operation keeping repeated handling down. Data analytics on the crop can be helpful in determining business revenue and organizing packaging and processing operations.

Strawberry Harvesting
https://dogtooth.tech/

Abundant Robotics

Hayward United States
Abundant Robotics develops agriculture robotics with their first product being an apple picking machine.

Agrobot

Spain
Agrobot creates agriculture harvesting robots with an early focus on strawberry harvesting.

Dogtooth

Melbourn United Kingdom
Dogtooth develops robots for soft fruit picking.

FFRobotics

Israel
FFRobotics develops fruit harvesting machinery.

Robotic Fruit Harvesters
Looking for more fruit picking robotic solutions?

Indoor Agriculture Robotics

Indoor greenhouse
https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=User:Mhrobots&action=edit&redlink=1

Greenhouse Harvesting

Using machine vision tools and robotics new harvesting systems are starting to emerge for high value crops like tomatoes and strawberries.

The harvesting robots are able to go down greenhouse aisles accurately identify ripe versus unripe plants, harvest them and place them in on-board boxing systems.

Metomotion

Four Growers

Pittsburgh United States
Four Growers provides greenhouse automation technology starting with a tomato harvesting robots that utilizes computer vision and machine learning.

METOMOTION

Misgav Israel
METOMOTION develops robotic systems (initial on harvesting) for indoor farming operations.

Root AI

Somerville United States
Root AI provides robotics and machine learning systems to indoor agriculture producers.

Greenhouse Robotics
Looking for more indoor robotic harvesting providers?

Greenhouse Material Handing

With robots working safely alongside people robots can perform dreaded manual labor tasks like plant spacing.

The robots can also increase plant quality by optimizing plant placement and reducing non‐labor production costs including a reduction in the amount of water, pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers used as a result of more consistent spacing.

harvest automation

Harvest Automation

Billerica United States
Harvest Automation produces robots for Agriculture and Distribution & Fulfillment.

HOVE International

Marietta United States
Hove International provides greenhouses with transport systems, bench irrigation, lighting, robotics, automated potting and software for ERP, sales order processing and plant registration.

Logiqs

Maasdijk Netherlands
Logiqs is a supplier of internal transporting systems for horticulture.

Greenhouse Material Handling Robotics
Looking for more indoor robotic handling providers?

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