An article by the University of Sydney states a challenge to our thought processes, "robotics in farming needs a new vision". The leading researcher at the University's Australian Centre for Field Robotics, Salah Sukkarieh, Professor of Robotics and Intelligent Systems writes within the article “We have to focus on farm robotics and automation technologies – certainly other countries are doing so. Every single country has some sort of automation program in agriculture.”
“Robotics and automation technology provides the grower with greater knowledge of their farm state, and the capability for acting in real-time, thus increasing efficiency, reliability and productivity whilst minimizing environmental impact" says the director of research and innovation at the University's Australian Centre for Field Robotics.
Salah Sukkarieh said “In addition we need to be thinking beyond the robotic devices themselves, and focus on how future farms will be structured and operate as a whole with autonomous systems. This will necessitate the need to investigate ways to support agribusiness start-up companies, as well as educate and manage the transition of current agricultural knowledge into the era of digitisation.”
Currently the Australian Centre for Field Robotics concluded a four-year study on the use of two 1.5m-high unmanned vehicle to uncovered the best locations to place beehives in orchards to get maximum fruit output, funded by Horticulture Innovation Australia. Data from these robots showed patterns in yield variations consistent with a lack of pollination. in an article in the Horticulture Innovation magazine, Growing Innovation the CEO John Lloyd said “This is a very exciting finding as this technology has the ability to help growers identify issues such as a lack of pollination and address them quickly,” he said. “By monitoring the data patterns produced by these robots growers can effectively help ensure the best yield possible.”
The hope is that robots will be able to manage pests, monitor yield and harvest/pick autonomously. and manage livestock all in the near future.
Growing Innovation, "Ground-breaking robotots can help growers pollinate", Issue 5, April 20 2016. <http://horticulture.com.au/growing-innovation/groundbreaking-robots/> 20 June 2017.
Image sourced from: https://www.google.com.au/search?q=farm+robots&rlz=1C1CHZL_enAU744AU744&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiQ-v_FzsvUAhUJxLwKHaUaAvEQ_AUICigB&biw=1920&bih=925#imgrc=cIQ82soSQVbGGM: