The agricultural industry can suffer greatly from a labor shortage, which affects both farmers and customers. Agricultural robots and automation technology may be able to tackle these problems, which would improve productivity, reduce costs, and improve sector efficiency. Agricultural robots, may automate tasks like planting, harvesting, and weeding that would often need human labor. Farmers may use less human labor while still preserving the quality of their crops by automating these processes. Additionally, agricultural robots are able to work continuously, around-the-clock, seven days a week. This can reduce the amount of time and resources required to carry out tasks and greatly increase the efficiency of farm operations. Some agricultural jobs, like harvesting, can also be dangerous for human workers. Agricultural robots can safely do these tasks while posing no risk to human workers. Furthermore, by requiring less human labor and performing their tasks more efficiently, agricultural robots can assist farmers in lowering labor costs. This can be especially useful in countries where it is expensive or difficult to hire labor. Agriculture robots are machines created expressly to carry out agricultural duties like planting, harvesting, and crop monitoring. These robots frequently have a variety of sensors, cameras, and other equipment to collect information and carry out activities in the field. The very first industrial robots were developed by a famous engineer named George Devol. After this revolutionary invention, it started getting into various industries such as space exploration, entertainment, health care, under water exploration, food preparation, military. There has been amalgamation of the technology in the agriculture sector to increase the productivity of the farmers. Various countries such as United States, Japan, Australia, Israel, among others are relying on the robotics for the getting high productivity. Some common types of agriculture robots include:
These are autonomous tractors that are capable of cultivating, planting, and harvesting crops.
These robots collect information about crop health and growth using sensors and cameras, assisting farmers in making decisions on irrigation, fertilization, and insect control.
These robots use specialized grippers or cutting tools to harvest crops like fruit, vegetables, and nuts. Further in this blog, we will discuss about the rising importance and applications of robots in the agriculture sector.
1- Robots for harvesting
The robots are popularly known for substituting human beings with the repetitive tasks. Harvesting is a cumbersome task which takes a lot of time. Robots are used extensively to relieve humans from this task. The soft touch robotics and LIDAR sensing technology are used to detect ripe fruits and leaving out unripe fruits while harvesting.
2- Precision seeding
To begin the process of farming seed sowing seeds is the basic process. The advance machineries are used by farmers as broadcast spreader. The autonomous precision seeding helps in geomapping and robots place the seeds exactly where the seeds need to be grown.
3- Micro spraying robots
Spraying pesticide repellent on the crops is an imperative step. Farmers remain apprehensive that over spraying might be harmful for the environment. The futuristic computer vision technology makes micro spraying possible and these robots detect weeds and spray the targeted small drop of the herbicide.
4- LiDAR powered robots for collecting data
We know that farms are not uniform and there is always some of the natural variability available in the soil. LiDAR can be utilized to observe, measure and map out the variations in slope, elevation, and aspect. Farmers are adopting this service as it offers many advantages. Some of the prominent advantages of the LiDAR system in agriculture are-
A- 3d modelling of crop field
B- Phonemics study
C- Determination of soil type and soil analysis
D- LiDAR in agriculture for smart crop management
E- Yield forecasting
F- Prevention of Soil Erosion
G- Application of LiDAR in Forestry
5- Drones in agriculture
It has been estimated that the drone market within agriculture would grow at 36% CAGR and expected to reach USD 6 billion by the year 2025. The drones are used for fulfilling myriad of purposes such as-
- Prepare the farmers for weather glitches
- Crop spraying
- Geo fencing
- Avoid chemical overuse
- Livestock management
- Monitor growth
- Checking crop health
- Soil and field analysis
Moreover, famers are acquiring more benefits such as high security, efficiency, more water saving, and easy maintenance. According to the researchers, drone technology is going to change the agriculture sector perpetually.
6- Robot assisted precision irrigation
The crisis of climate change and emerging water scarcity in the world is a real thing. Therefore, saving water by all our means has become imperative as never before. It is estimated that about 70% of all world’s fresh water go towards irrigation uses. To curb this problem, robot assisted precision irrigation is a panacea to eradicate the problem of water wastage.
We may anticipate a rise in the use of agriculture robots on farms all over the world as their advantages become well understood and farmers grow accustomed to the technology. Sensor, machine learning, and other technological advancements will probably result in ever more precise and effective agriculture robots. Better agricultural yields, less waste, and lower expenses for farmers could all result from this. In addition, the integration of agriculture robots with other technology, including drones, satellite imaging, and AI-powered analytics tools, is likely. Farmers might be able to optimize their operations and make better decisions as a result of this. Further, agriculture robots have the potential to improve farming practices by lowering the demand for physical labor, pesticides, and other chemicals.
The global agricultural robots market size was valued at USD 3000 million in the year 2018. Furthermore, the market is anticipated to reach USD 12,500 million by 2025. A case study of Israel tells about the evolution in farming domain with the introduction of the robotics. According to the senior research scientist and director of the Institute of Agriculture Engineering name Avital Bechar, there are more than 500 companies dealing with different aspects of Ag tech in Israel. He says that approximately 5-10 companies are working on developing different robotic systems for agriculture. Some of the projects going on right now are as follows-
- Commercial sprayer that has been modified to be autonomous
- A robot which prunes specific branches from deciduous trees
- Sonar robot which estimates yield and plant health status
- Disease monitoring and proximal sensing
- Selective weeding robot which can navigate tricky crops
With these solutions in next few years, Israel is going to see some specific solutions in the market place. Other than this, the North America region dominates the market and having the largest share of the agricultural robot’s market. The market in the region is rising due to the higher adoption of advanced technology due to rising labor shortage, high per capita disposable income, and high labor costs in the region. Additionally, governments all over the world are launching campaigns and providing subsidies to raise awareness of automated technologies among farmers. For instance, in order to advance high-tech robotics and automated technologies in the European food and agriculture business, ROBS4CROPS, which is financed by the EU, is an essential catalyst. The four-year project will create and deploy a flexible and modular, completely autonomous system suited for large-scale commercial trials by building upon the current agricultural equipment, standards, and best practices. A new initiative called Robs4Crops is assisting farmers in filling the labor gap that is upending the agricultural industry. The market for agricultural robots may expand as a result.
Overall, the industry is being transformed by the rapid evolution of agricultural robots. These technologies have the potential to boost crop yields, save costs, and make farming more profitable and sustainable through enhanced efficiency, precision, and automation. It has been estimated that the agricultural robot market is estimated to hold immense opportunities. Towards the end, the future of farm robots appears to be quite bright, and in the years to come, we may anticipate seeing further developments and improvements in this area. The Research Nester has recently prepared a research report incorporating all the important details of the market. It is always prudent to know the intricacies of the market.