EXPERTS were eagerly awaiting the debut of their unique business idea in Hong Kong last month, a ‘Farmbot’ named Rachael.
The prototype was showcased at the GREAT Festival of Innovation in March, after being built at the Small Robot Company’s robotics design and development centre in Portsmouth.
The firm builds technology to make farming profitable, more efficient and more environmentally friendly.
After making her festival entrance, the team behind the robot said that she embodies all the core technology needed for its forthcoming Tom, Dick and Harry arable farmbots.
These features include autonomy, geolocation, obstacle avoidance, navigation and the ability to accurately position objects on a map within 2 centimetres.
At the event the Small Robot Company previewed the designs for its ‘Harry’ robot.
The digital planting machine will be built for arable crops, placing seeds in the ground individually and at uniform depth, within 2cm accuracy.
Harry will create a plant level map showing the location of each seed, enabling farming to be digitalised.
His commercial trial is anticipated for October 2018.
Co-founder Ben Scott-Robinson, from Gosport, said: ‘Small Robot Company is both proud to represent Great Britain and excited to explore how we can provide an arable crop service that brings benefits across the world.
‘Rice remains the single most important food crop globally. But labour shortages, chemical overuse and improving yield are all ongoing difficulties.
‘Robotics has the potential to solve these problems. We want to work with rice farmers to evolve and develop a service that answers their needs, in the same way we have been working with wheat farmers in the UK’