The need for Robots in Agriculture
Agriculture is a livelihood sector and the backbone of the country’s economic system, automation is applied in agriculture to increase its productivity with hi-tech techniques. But till date, this sector is not efficient and faces many issues due to natural calamities.
As human power in agriculture is reducing day by day due to the improvement in industrial sectors, robotics comes to the rescue. As the traditional farming methods are lacking the efficiency automated farming techniques are getting implemented gradually.
How it works?
The young plants are first maintained in nurseries for more nourishment which are later planted outside for direct sunlight. These nursery plants are of great commercial use as they profit the farmers on large scale by selling it to the gardeners and consumers of it.
Nursery automation was started by Harvest Automation and HETO Agrotechnics to provide automation in seeding, warehousing, and potting.
The first process in growing a crop is seeding. The traditional method uses a broadcast spreader who spreads the seeds into the field randomly which is later made use of tractors. This method leads to wastage of seeds where Autonomous precision seeding is used for seeding. This technique makes use of geomapping and robotics where a map shows solid properties including its quality and density at every point in the farm.
Crop Monitoring and Analysis
Monitoring the crops is a huge task when the crops are covering a larger area of the field. Automation in monitoring at ground level can be done to collect the data about plants without much effort.
PrecisionHawk is a Drone company that applies robotic hardware and software for analyzing the field. The software can be operated using smartphones. BoniRob monitors crops by coming close to it to perform tasks like weeding and fertilizing with high efficiency than the human force.
Fertilizing and Irrigation
Irrigation and fertilization techniques in traditional farming lead to a high level of water wastage and its quite inefficient. As the watering is not precisely done it leads to water shortage and a high level of loss will be incurred during summer seasons where there is no source of water.
To overcome all these problems, the Robot-Assisted Precision Irrigation technique was introduced to water the crops only at targeted places without draining the whole field.
Rowbot is used to fertilize the plants efficiently with a nitrogen fertilizer at the base of the crops.
Crop Weeding and Spraying
Spraying pesticides and other chemicals for weeds can highly damage the quality of fields leading to poor productivity when the quantity exceeds its limit accidentally.
Micro-spraying of weed killers and pesticides is highly recommended for herbicides as they deploy computer vision technology for spraying the chemicals in targeted places of crops.
AG BOT II is one of the best robotic technology used in robotics which is operated by solar energy for the purpose of micro-spraying. Robo-Crop goes even further where it uproots the weeds and kills it with lasers avoiding pesticides.
Picking and Harvesting
Crops that are tender and soft requires manual dexterity to avoid wastage while plucking it using harvesters. Clever Robots for Crops project was funded by the EU to reduce harvesting problems and to increase picking and harvesting speed by deploying robotic harvesters in farming.