Robots is an increasing demand in the agriculture sector in the past few years. Harvesting crops is the traditional application of robots, but technology is revamping the ways to help farmers grow their crops at ease and a lower cost. Apart from harvesting applications, recent years introduce robots or drones for cloud seeding, sowing seeds, weed control, soil analysis, and environmental monitoring. Research says that by 2025, the agricultural robots’ market could potentially reach USD11.58 billion in value.
Agricultural robots can be identified as early as the 1920s, which led to considerable developments in the 1950s to 1960s. Agricultural robotics were based on a cable system, not until the 1980s, where computerized machine vision was developed. Recent developments generate reports on the health of crops, their size, number of fruits, quality, and how much produce will it deliver at the end of the season. Robot developers use sensors that identify weeds, detect and pick crops at the right stages, and estimate the volume of herbicides to be sprayed. Using this method helps agronomists to breed better crops in the future.
Benefits of Using Agricultural Robots
Agricultural robots can now help farmers pick fruits, drive tractors and sprayers, and even shear sheep without human labor, minimizing their time and cost. Robots further have the ability to prune plants, weed, water/spray, and monitoring the entire farm in a single monitor or device. In livestock applications, robots can be used in automatic milking, cleaning, and castrating.
Using agricultural robots not only benefits the farmers/growers but also consumers alike by producing fresh products, decreasing manual labor, which leads to lower production costs. Additionally, robots minimize the danger of hazardous chemicals be in contact with manual laborers. It further reduces the heavy tasks done by farmers while using manual tractors.
The development of drones can provide extensive information on crop health. Its lenses can zoom in on the crop seedlings to detect when the fruits and vegetables are right for picking without the human workforce. Latest robotics surpass the traditional automated weeders in the market by using high-power lasers to remove pests in plants without disturbing the plants and ground.
Every year, technology and robotic firms introduce different approaches to industrialize the responsibilities in the farm. Earlier this year, a robotic firm in the United States announced the flying independent robot that uses artificial intelligence to determine ripe fruits and pick them all day. Drone equipment is becoming more popular, which allows farmers to monitor their crops and livestock from above.
The future of research and development in agricultural robots is a wide analysis yet to be developed. The human population is rising each year and farms are becoming less due to commercialized lands. To feed the population, agricultural giants are now researching to develop robotics or tools to estimate crop yields considering lesser lands, limited resources, and climate change. However, feeding a growing population today doesn’t mean more opportunities in the agricultural professions. Although robotics gives a new dimension to agriculture, it gives a big impact on the farm workforce. By 2029, the agricultural manpower is expected to drop by 6%, which job declines have already started in the US for years.