Robots could help farmers care for their crops and reduce chemicals

Robots are set to help farmers care for their crops and reduce the use of chemicals.

Agritech robot Tom v4 will be used to remotely scan agricultural fields to locate and log weeds and crop plants.

This information from the robot will then be passed through a complex AI algorithm to create a treatment map.

It will tell farmers exactly how much herbicide to use and where to apply it.

Current farming practices often rely on herbicides and nutrients being applied over entire field areas.

But it is hoped the research will support farmers dramatically reduce chemical usage by only applying on field areas where weeds or crop pests are present.

The research comes from the National Robotarium, the UK’s world-leading centre for robotics, and The James Hutton Institute.

Tom v4, from the Small Robot Company, will also collect and report data on individual crop plants to monitor plant numbers and health, including their exact location and survivability, alerting farmers to any areas of immediate need.

Lisa Farrell from the National Robotarium said robots will play an important part in the future of farming.

‘With demand on the world’s food resources set to rise significantly, it’s even more important that robotics and AI play an increasing role in assisting modern agricultural practices,’ she said.

‘Per plant precision agriculture is a fantastic example of how technology can help us to be kinder to the environment whilst supporting Britain’s farming community to be more efficient, precise and productive.

‘The National Robotarium continues to be a leading collaborative hub, bringing together academics and global companies.

‘Working with partners like the James-Hutton Institute and forward-leaning start-ups like Small Robot Company, we can drive efficiencies, accelerate growth and deliver economic benefit to the UK’s agriculture sector and beyond.’

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