Robot farmers: ‘This is the revolution’

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
thumb
Image Credit: Small Robot Company

In a quiet corner of rural Hampshire, a robot called Rachel is pootling around an overgrown field. With bright orange casing and a smartphone clipped to her back end, she looks like a cross between an expensive toy and the kind of rover used on space missions. Up close, she has four USB ports, a disc-like GPS receiver, and the nuts and bolts of a system called Lidar, which enables her to orient herself using laser beams ….

Watching her progress from a corner of the field are three people from the Small Robot Company, and the farmer who co-owns the land. Jamie Butler grows wheat – an uncertain business that can easily tip into the red ….

What does he make of Rachel? “This is the revolution,” he says. And he could well be right: if the robot working in this field is the shape of farming to come, it could have dramatic implications for our food security and the natural world.

Related article:  Beepocalypse not now: Canada's honeybee colonies up 10% in 2017 to record high

The alarming decline in the number of bees in Europe, the US and beyond is linked to the use of insecticides; the equally sobering fall in bird populations has been traced to the same source …. robot farming offers alternatives to all these things, and hope of an eventual ecological renaissance.

[Editor’s note: Studies suggest pesticides aren’t harming bees.]

Read full, original article: ‘We’ll have space bots with lasers, killing plants’: the rise of the robot farmer

Outbreak Featured
Infographic: Growing human embryos — How long should researchers watch human development play out in a dish?

Infographic: Growing human embryos — How long should researchers watch human development play out in a dish?

In May, the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) released new guidelines that relaxed the 14-day rule, taking away ...
Are GMOs and pesticides threatening bees?

Are GMOs and pesticides threatening bees?

First introduced in 1995, neonicotinoids ...
glp menu logo outlined

Newsletter Subscription

* indicates required
Email Lists
glp menu logo outlined

Get news on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.