Robots to Deliver Environmental Benefits in Agriculture

(3BL Media/Justmeans) – Agricultural robots are a part of precision agriculture, which hold the promise to improve sustainable farming practices. From sensors to drones to satellite imagery to better software management for people and equipment, advancements in precision agriculture are enabling growers to use less pesticide, less water, produce less waste, and improve the environmental sustainability of agriculture.

According to a recent report by Lux Research titled Planting the Seeds of a Robot Revolution: How Autonomous Systems are Integrating into Precision Agriculture, robots are making their way into agriculture, potentially altering the farming landscape across the world. Lux Research analyst and lead author of the report Sara Olson said that the benefits robots bring in the form of increased accuracy and precision in agriculture will start to pay off in coming years.

While most companies are focusing on cost savings as a rationale for using robotic systems in agriculture, robots can bring environmental benefits to the fields. Olson said that steering and spraying automation systems mean fewer over-sprays and less waste, for a lower total chemical load on a field. Most automation systems provide increased efficiency, leading to reduced waste, which can deliver environmental benefits.

Schneider Electric is leveraging its Internet of Things-enabled WeatherSentry platform to help the agriculture industry prioritize activity based on 15-day forecasts, leading to less waste, increased safety and more efficiency.

DuPont’s Pioneer has collaborated with eight Midwestern universities through their respective soil nutrition management experts to help growers more sustainably maximize crop yields using less fertilizer.

In 2013, Monsanto bought the Climate Corporation for about $930 million in an effort to help farmers use big data to produce more crops while using fewer natural resources.

Robotic technologies are being embraced by various industries apart from agriculture to improve sustainability. Apple invented Liam, a recycling robot that can disassemble 1.2 million phones a year, sorting all of their valuable materials so they can be recycled and reducing the need for mining resources.

U.K.’s food delivery app company Just Eat, German retail chain Metro AG, logistics company Hermes Group, and U.K. food delivery startup Pronto Technology are trialing deliveries using self-driving robots.

Source: Environmental Leader

Image Credit: Flickr via anna_t