Saturday, April 21, 2012

Robots: Coming to a Farm Near You

        I accidentally found an article in a newspaper on the research and development of robots in agriculture. Now I don't know where I've been hiding the last few years, but I was very surprise that the development of robots in agriculture has progressed as far as it has. I'm well aware of GPS used on farms. However, there still must be an operator for the equipment. Someone has to adjust equipment on the go and and monitor for any problems.

      A hundred years ago agriculture was a very labor intensive industry. That was almost one hundred years after the reaper had been invented. Fruit farming and vegetable farming are still highly labor intensive. So that's where most of the research on robots has been centered. A number of robots have been developed to pick fruit and prune trees. Most of his work is done now by laborers who must hand pick the fruit.

     Other robots have been developed to operate on grain farms. Seeders have been developed to sow crops. Harvesters have been developed to harvest grain crops.

     Most robots are in a prototype stage. the next hurdle is to be able to mass produce them. In order to mass produce they need a market. The market will develop if they can persuade farmers to buy these machines. The machines have to be able to cost effective for the agricultural industry.

      So I ask myself where I've been the last ten years when all this has been going on? Obviously under some  very large toadstool!