By using robots to farm instead of manpower, agricultural engineers affiliated with the robotic engineers and revolutionized the future of farming.
Robots are being employed to inspect crops, excavate weeds, and now are acting as shepherds too. Therefore, the time has come for farmers to just sit and relax. It takes thousands of man-hours to work in commercial growing fields due to their extremely vast size. For example, Suplejack Downs in the Northern Territory, an Australian most secluded cattle station, encompasses about 4000 square kilometers and expends about 13 hours to reach by car from Alice Springs, the nearest major town.
Due to the extreme seclusion of these huge farms, they are often neglected and are rarely monitored, i.e. once or twice a year. This implies that in case if livestock gets sick or is in dire need of immediate help, it will be too long before the farmers find out and come for aid. Therefore, robots are coming to the rescue.
At the present in Wales, robots are under two-year trial to get them prepared as “farmbots” which will be capable of monitoring the health of livestock, herd, and make sure there is enough pasture for them to graze on. There are many sensors fitted inside the robots to help them identify conditions of the environment, cattle, and food using thermal and vision sensors that detect thermal changes in body temperature.
Salah Sukkarieh of the University of Sydney, who is going to carry trials on various farms in central New South Wales said:
“You’ve also got color, texture and shape sensors looking down at the ground to check pasture quality.”
The mechanics and algorithms of the robots will be perfected throughout the trials to make it more familiarized at ailing livestock and guaranteeing that it can navigate around probable threats including trees, mud, swamps, and hills very safely.
Salah Sukkarieh also stated:
“We want to improve the quality of animal health and make it easier for farmers to maintain large landscapes where animals roam free.”
The farmbots do not only serve the purpose of herding and monitoring livestock, but there are other robots as well which have been manufactured to sum individual fruit, inspect crops and unearth weeds.
High-tech sensors and complex learning algorithms have been installed in several robots for the prevention of injuries to humans while they work alongside each other. Through the internal storage and cloud-based storage, the robots also pick up the most effective and safe passages and hence, in addition to the provision of live streaming giving real-time feedback on what precisely is happening on the farms, let the engineers and farmers to examine and better augment the features and tasks of the robot.
Although, it is farmers that are being insistent for the drastic developments due to ever increasing laboring vacancies which is making it difficult to sustain large scale operations, the concern rests in contracting out agricultural workers.
He also explained:
“It’s farmers who are driving this because labor is in short supply and they are looking for technological assistance.”
From the robot Ladybird, capable of hunting and pulling weeds, to monitoring the condition of every fruit, the robots have offered major benefits to farmers in several ways. These farmbots will not only provide24/7 monitoring on agriculture and livestock, but also will be capable of carrying out tasks more proficiently like spraying herbicides in reduced quantities in contrast to human counterparts. A great amount of independence will be experienced by the future farms as soon as the robots become low-priced to substitute farmers out on the farms, while being able to control more crops more efficiently, giving an interesting look into the future of farming.