Robotic Farming- The Upcoming Revolution in the Agriculture Sector

The colluding of agriculture with technology might be the most revolutionary one that’s ever been. Agriculture is an industry that accounts for the major portion of growth and economic stability of a country. The evolution of the agricultural industry from a basic occupation to a full fledged high-tech industry has altered the parameters of development and the standards keep on rising. Let us read a complete study about Robotic Farming and Its Impact.

The need of robotics in the farming industry in the upcoming future

The world is growing at a supersonic speed and predictions say that a number as high as 9 billion would represent the human population by 2050. To cater a world so big, a striking growth in agricultural production is required.This might justify why farmers’ are taking assistance from the robotic world. This gives a hint about Robotic Farming and Its Impact.

Customer service, manufacturing, mining, packaging and shipping, manufacturing, and transportation are all industries who are already using robots to increase their outputs and aim to double the involvement.

The boom in the AI sector, the rising population and the invention of more and more utilitarian robots has caused agriculture to open its gates to innovation. The Verified Market Research, says that the agricultural robots market is expected to touch $11.58 billion by 2025, becoming one of the well invested market in the upcoming decade.

History of Robotics Industry

The first vision of robotics was visible in this scenario i.e. agriculture scenario, which can be traced back in 1920s while doing a research related work i.e. use of automatic vehicle guidance. This landed the advancements between the 1950s and 60s of automated agricultural vehicles. Other developments in this field over the years includes the harvesting of oranges using a robot both in France and the US.

The indoor industrial settings had used robots for decades, outdoor robots for the use of agriculture are considered a little more complicated and difficult to furnish.Concerns over safety, over the complexity of picking crops subject to different environmental factors and unpredictability make the process a little more demanding.

Demand in the market

There is a looming fear related to the dearth of labor and increasing demands . With a majority population of  ageing manpower, countries like Japan are failing in meeting the clamour of the labor market.Similarly, in the US, the sector mainly depends in immigrant workers, but between the decline in seasonal farm workers and the country’s notion to stop immigration, makes it difficult to meet the bars.


Also Read: Khetigaadi.com - World's first one-stop Solution for Agricultural Machinery


What all can robots do

Agricultural robots usually come handy to perform  tasks that are slow, repetitive and dull for farmers, automating these helps the farmers on focusing more on improving the overall yield. The common duties that robots can perform are:

  • Harvesting and picking
  • Automated mowing, pruning, seeding, spraying
  • Weed Control
  • Sorting and packing
  • Phenotyping
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Soil analysis

Caring and harvesting crops is one of the most common activity for which many companies are developing robots.For instance, Fendt’s Xaver robot, expected to hit the market this year, can execute tasks such as planting and fertilising crops like corn, weed control and scouting operations.

Vision Robotics from San Diego is working on robots that will perform “thinning,” that ensures that seeds have sufficient space apart during planting, fastening their growth.

Robots have also played a crucial role in preventing losses as big as $43 billion due to weeds resistant to herbicides are also set to help farmers by preventing some of the $43 billion losses created by herbicide-resistant weeds. Later, many companies like Blue River Technology has introduced See & Spray robot in the market and marketed as an effective weed-spraying machine.

Monitoring huge fields of crop is a humongous task. New sensor and geo-mapping technologies allow farmers to get a much advanced level of data about their crops than they had before. Drones and ground robots provide a way to collect this data autonomously.

Another example in this case is TerraSentia robot which was developed by EarthSense which can autonomously move through the fields and uses sensors to monitor various plant parameters to analyse the crops without any need of men power. It can also be further developed to detect common plant ailments. The data will progressively help scientists to understand the optimal environment to nurture the best crops.


Also Read: SFarmsIndia: India's First Agri Land Marketplace


Irrigating and fertilizing crops is one of the key steps in nurturing healthy crops, evidently this uses excess water decreasing efficiency. Inventions like Robot-Assisted Precision Irrigation can help in reducing wasted water by targeting specific plants. Ground robots autonomously navigate through the rows of crop and pour water directly at the base of each plant.

Robots have an additional ability to access areas where other machines cannot.

Robotic advancements will also help in filling the decreasing manpower in agriculture sector. Robots which are being developed  have a workload capacity equivalent to 30 human workers.

This will give the farmers an opportunity to focus more on the entrepreneurial aspects rather than the manual work involved. These will lead to labor and time savings, an increase in crop yield proving that technological progress is pervading all aspects of our lives.

It will empower the farmers to spend a little bit less time in the business and a little bit more time on the business.

Conclusion

Though the potential of these machines are extraordinary, but they inevitably lead us to the archaic fear that robots will replace the human manpower. The positive outlook can be that the farm workers can function as the operators and managers supervising these automata.The demand for food is surpassing available land for growing crops and only farmers can fill the gap. Involving robotic power to the sector will not only enhance the agricultural process but will help in increasing the outputs manifold. We are still in beginner levels of an age of robotics revolution with most of the inventions in early trial phases and R&D phase. These Agribots can create a massive altercation and prove that the future will witness an overpowering  reliance of AI, steered by humans.

Author image

About Yash Gupta

A management enthusiast, an avid reader, and a traveler.