Agriculture is speedily turning into a high-tech industry, drawing a considerable number of new investors, technology firms, and top professionals. The production capabilities of farmers are rapidly increasing with the innovation of automation and agricultural robots. From cloud seeding to digital greenhouses, agrarian robots are helping farmers fill labor shortages and also our supermarket shelves without leaving it empty.
According to Global Agriculture Robots Industry Report, the robotic applications in the agriculture market exhibits the potential to grow by $4.9 billion, with a compounded growth of 22.7%. At the heart of the phenomenon, the shifting dynamics such as autonomous vehicles and robots are aiding this excessive growth and has made it critical for agro-industries to keep abreast of the changing rhythm.
Global Industry Insights – Agricultural Robots Market
Agriculture robots are predicted to bring in healthy gains to this segment by adding significant momentum to global growth. Speaking about the developed world, the US will maintain a 25.4% growth momentum. Europe continues to stay as an essential element in the world agricultural economy, with Germany adding over $162.1 million to the region’s size and clout in the next 5 or 6 years. The remaining demand worth $226 million will come from the rest of the European market.
China, being the world’s second-largest economy and the novel game-changer in the worldwide market, is foreseen to upsurge at 21.9% in the next few years and is expected to add around $829 million addressable opportunities for the picking by ambitious leaders and their agro-industry. In Japan, Agriculture UAVs are said to reach a market size of $111.4 million by the close of 2025.
Robotic Applications in the Agricultural Market
Agricultural robots are widely used by the farmers to automate their sluggish and mundane tasks, and thereby allowing them to focus on improving the yearly production yields. Right from gathering apples, harvesting lettuce, plucking strawberries, stripping away weeds, and gathering aerial images, it assists the farmers to quickly assess crop health and grow vegetables in the backyards of high-consumption urban places.
Some of the conventional robots used in the agricultural market are explained below:
Crop Harvesting and Picking
Crop harvesting and picking are the most common robotic applications in this segment due to the speed and the accuracy in which robots can enhance the yield size and reduce waste. Harvesting certain crops like barley, corn, and wheat can be done with a robotic harvester that works like a tractor.
Harvest CROO Robotics is one of the trendiest in this segment known to pick grown strawberries in the field. This machine is proven to pick strawberries across eight acres of land in just 24-hour. The company claims that the robot’s overall workload capacity is equivalent to 30 human workforces.
Vegebot is another computer vision-powered prototype developed by Cambridge University. One camera of this machine is designed to scan the lettuce and lets the user know if it’s appropriate for harvesting. A second camera guides the user to pick the lettuce without crushing it. In the meantime, a machine-learning algorithm also teaches the robot to avoid diseased or unripe lettuce.
Weed Control and Spraying
Spraying pesticides to kill the weeds and germs can severely harm the environment. However, robots utilize a much more efficient method without impairing the surrounding. Micro-spraying robots can significantly reduce the amount of herbicide used while growing the crop. This technology embraces computer vision to identify weeds and spray a targeted drop of herbicide onto that particular spot without dripping it anywhere else.
AG BOT II is one such robot that uses solar power to implement this technique. Developed by the Queensland University of Technology, it is known to cut the cost of weed control by 90%, thereby saving the farm sector $1.3 billion every year. Meanwhile, some weeding robots do not require any chemicals to kill unwanted plants.
For instance, RoboCrop uses computer vision to decide weeds, and afterward, consequently extricates the spaces between plants to expel the weeds. Some weeding robots likewise use lasers to execute the weeds.
Autonomous Pruning and Thinning
Autonomous pruning robots cut the back of plants so that it proliferates with the highest reap, whereas thinning machinery reduces the plan density and offers a better chance of growth. Pruning is a complicated farming task that can be simplified with the automation technique. Wall- Ye is one of the renowned vineyard robot created to prune grapevines.
Wall-Ye employs modern farming technology like AI, tracking, and mapping to recognize plant highlights, clasp information, store each vine, bring into line 6 cameras and lead its arms to exert tools. It takes on labor-intensive chores like pruning and de-suckering while collating valuable data on the health and vigor of the soil and vine stocks.
The LettuceBot is another high-end robot said to be the future of pruning and thinning. With an “outstanding product innovation in agriculture” award, it has helped the farmers by bringing in advanced technologies to agriculture. It uses computer vision to identify lettuce as it rolls over them and chooses which plants to keep and which to evacuate.
It utilizes detailed vision and has millions of images in its database to identify the weeds or a lettuce plant that has grown too close to another. Once identified, it sprays a potent fertilizer to disintegrate the prey and fertilize the lettuce around it.
Aerial Imagery and Seed-Planting
Aerial imagery drones help farmers by delivering a bird’s eye view of crops so that they can swiftly learn the vegetation’s health, irrigation layouts, insect matters, and weed growth. It allows them to determine the amount of pesticide required by particular crops accurately. Gamaya drones are popular among farmers to generate crop data and survey their lands with Agri-tech companies.
The image-gathering innovation by Gamaya relies upon the site, and it uses exceptional drone-mounted cameras to inspect the yield status. Its hyperspectral camera mounted on a drone catches vibrant images. The camera can capture up to 40 unique bands of light, contrasted with three in any of the standard cameras. This element lets them recognize inconspicuous varieties in light reflected on the plant and note its state.
Similarly, American Robotics has designed Scout, an aerial imaging drone that lives inside a weatherproofed box between flights. It self-charges and processes all the data using edge computing. While assessing the fields, it automatically opens the box top, and this self-directed drone lifts off, using Artificial Intelligence to plot and execute the run. This way, it gathers crop stress data that farmers can utilize throughout a crop’s life cycle.
Around 40% of the global grain harvest has gone astray due to pests and ailments, as per the Food and Agriculture Organization. However, one can utilize the half a million data points generated by an average farm per day to reduce the massive loss incurred by farmers. By converting the data points into sound advice, agro-industries can operate precisely with fewer resources. Agricultural robots help the farmers in this area by entirely transforming the look and feel of traditional farming practices.