Solving food shortage problems is a worldwide predicament without a universal answer. One company is working its way towards a solution, using technology to decrease the labor needs of farms, allowing for more produce to be grown, picked and delivered without impacting heavily on the farm’s ROI.
Using innovative techniques for farming, Agrobot is growing the agribusiness into a global market with their products, which include robotic harvesters and advanced hydroponic growing systems. Agrobot executives believe that their technology can solve up to 80% of the hard labor needs of farms around the world and that in the next five years, many farms could be partially- or fully-automated.
The meticulous and often back-breaking work of tending to produce has traditionally been done in North America by foreign workers who don’t require a large wage. But, with shortages in farm labor, combined with the tightening border with Mexico and the growth in the U.S. economy, it has been difficult for farmers to keep up with their farm labor needs. Without the laborers required, perishable produce is going to waste, squandering the farm’s time, money and valuable resources.
Agrobot is working to change this. Using robotic harvesters, farmers can reduce their labor load tremendously, yet increase their profits as they are able to utilize almost 100% of their viable produce and grow more in the long-term.
This labor-saving device relies on a high-powered computing system and vision-sensing technology. With 16 robotic arms, it scans the sides of the plants, looking for the ones that are ripe and ready for picking. It then uses these arms to pick the plant and put it on the conveyer, where it is brought to the farm worker, who will then place it in the container. Not needing farm laborers to pick produce reduces labor costs exponentially and allows for nothing to be wasted.
Typically, the Agrobot harvester has been used for picking berries, which is a delicate and laborious process and one in which could be a difficult position to fill manually, increasing the need for a technological solution like this on berry farms. The machine also guarantees the accuracy and sensitivity in dealing with such a harrowing crop that might not be available using human hands.
A 60-armed machine is on the way, being developed by Agrobot, which could be ready to go out in the literal field in 2020. Marketing of Agrobot’s harvesters is directed to those producers who wish to reduce costs, empower their business results, increase their level of competitiveness and allow their business to become a leader in the market. Because Agrobot’s technology is so innovative and new, many producers haven’t utilized it yet, which gives the businesses who try it a leg up on the competition.
Is robotics a job creator or killer? What say you?