The future of agriculture is robotics
Will we still be milking cows in 2050? Nowadays, do children need miniature tractors as a Christmas present? The robotization of agriculture is in progress. And it promises to take the place of man or old machinery in a very short time.
Naio, the naiad of robotics
Naïo is a robot that roams the fields of our rural areas. With artificial intelligence, sensors, and 3D cameras, it decides the best actions to accomplish without any apparent fatigue.
Its peers can also evolve in closed environments like greenhouses, in vineyards, fields – in short, all outdoor conditions. This robot allows to optimize the irrigation or the necessary treatments:
- inclination of the soil
- sunshine in the last days (or weeks)
- state of the development of the vines
We imagine that while some winemakers return to ancestral techniques to produce organically, the robot will have other qualities.
Should the farmer be afraid of machine replacement?
But, of course, the threat of replacement of the farmer by the machine raises question. The robots will have a positive impact on the ecology. Besides, they are expected to reduce the ecological footprint by 70% compared to a tractor. Another question for the moment without an answer is that of responsibility. If the robot makes autonomous decisions, will it be responsible in the event of an accident?
If we are still perplexed, in France. In England or in the United States, some projects of fully robotic farms are in the testing phase. They grow kale, herbs, or salads like in San Carlos. In California, at Iron Ox, they produce 26,000 heads of lettuce in 800 square meters of space.
More and more autonomous farming robots
The challenge is global because to feed the population of the planet, agricultural production shall increase by 70% by 2050. And this without increasing the ecological bill. The other economic point is precisely the lack of manpower in some countries, which will be compensated by robots. Some researchers have even designed a robot supervisor that coordinates the robot’s “workers” on the farm. Meanwhile, some French researchers have developed a Sputnik! It’s a poultry robot that can stimulate chickens on a farm to improve yields, while many farms already use robots for milking cows.
The time has not yet arrived on the farm where it is entirely driven by robots, but it is slowly approaching. We collect strawberries, treat vines, and harvest fruits on trees; everywhere, robots improve the life of farmers and make them more productive. Some optimists even consider that robotization is an asset for the agricultural sector, imagining that it will attract more young people accustomed to new technologies, not to mention the jobs related to the maintenance and development of field robots.
It’s not only the city that’s becoming more and more “smart.” The countryside is getting “smart,” too!