27 Sep Robot Usage in Agriculture
Seasonal laborers are needed by farmers all around Europe to harvest their crops. Still, there is a labor shortage on the continent because of the COVID-19 epidemic and the conflict in Ukraine. Some farmers were forced to do nothing except watch food waste.
Farm robots have been used to pick apples, lettuce, and other crops in places where there is a manpower shortage, but it has proven more difficult to persuade machines to pick delicate fruits like raspberries without hurting them.
While producers are increasingly utilizing such technologies for the sake of operational effectiveness, the impact on the final consumer who purchases produce at their neighborhood farmer’s market or grocery store still has to be determined.
With the increased usage of robots in farming, growers may guarantee that their fields are fully harvested by utilizing agricultural robots to bolster human labor. Thus, the use of agricultural robots will guarantee customers a consistent supply of wholesome fruits and vegetables.
Additionally, robotic farming may reduce the need for pesticides and other chemicals in the agriculture sector to cure crop diseases and pests. Robotic delivery methods and advanced monitoring systems may make it possible to apply such poisons more precisely so that they are sprayed just where there is an active pest problem rather than all over the growing area. Many customers who are demanding goods that have undergone the least amount of processing are in favor of this situation.
A combination of sensors and algorithms allows harvesting robots, which have four picking arms with grippers, to pick fruits by themselves without inflicting damage. Although they are slow, harvesting robots are effective. An expert human picker can gather roughly 10 pounds of raspberries in an hour, but each collects about 2.2 pounds on average.
Currently, scientists are attempting to double the system’s pace with the eventual objective of having it pick 66% more raspberries each day than a person working an 8-hour shift (25,000 berries vs. 15,000).
It is also testing the technology’s capacity to harvest different kinds of crops and searching for methods to lower production costs for its harvesting robots, which it presently rents to farmers for around the same price they would pay seasonal employees.
Five robots are anticipated to be commercially deployed by the end of 2022, with another 40 following in 2023.