SprayBox Robots Can Treat 500,000 Plants Hourly, Lessening Need For Chemical Sprays
Farmers have been searching for ways to plant and harvest their crops as quickly and as efficiently as possible. They have to deal with the weather, the parasites, and so many other issues while they care for their fields.
Nowadays, people have been relying on robots to make work easier, and farmers are no exception. Help may soon be on the way for them with what the researchers have been experimenting on. This could revolutionize farming like never before.
This amazing piece of technology comes with 50 spray nozzles and a sophisticated computer system. They’ve been designed to help tractors out in California’s central valley. The large farm equipment are now towing artificially-intelligent robots behind them. This may launch what many hail as the fourth revolution in agriculture.
The robots that are attached to the tractors pass over a field and can immediately target individual weeds and crops. This happens at an impressive speed of 20 per second. The robots then blast them with either de-weeder or fertilizer and it is within a millimeter accurate.
The farmers have been using Verdant Robotics’ SprayBox robot. That’s because the robots has been built to be able to identify and treat 500,000 plants per hour while at the same time, make use of 95 percent less chemical weedkiller, which makes the whole process more sustainable.
While robots that are physically mobile have been used by big farms for years now and is more common than most other sectors of the economy, the experts from Verdant Robotics feel that this comes with both pros and cons. They want to take the steps further forward.
“Increasingly folks are turning towards things like cover-cropping again, and inter-cropping and other regenerative agriculture techniques that allow us to keep the soil healthy,” said Gabe Siblev. He is the founder and CEO of Verdant Robotics and he spoke about this in a little mini-doc about the new technology that they have.
“The challenges there have been that it’s difficult to do this at the same sort of scale that we can do monocropping, which is how we feed the world,” he said.
What makes their robots different is that this may actually be the breakthrough that farmers need because theirs come with traditional management techniques that make sure the soil is healthier and that they are able to produce more nutritious food as well as protect the environment. They also designed the robots to be at the scale currently enjoyed by monocropping.
The said party piece is that when robots such as when SprayBox identifies a plant, these don’t just fire and forget. Instead, these are actively building a centimeter-by-centimeter map of the entire field, a map that comes with the entire geolocation and ID of every plant found in the area. This is what they called the mass data collection and this is what they think is the key to making regenerative agriculture possible at an even wider scale. This means that it takes over the job of a large number of workers. The farmer than is able to save costs on employment.
“Ironically, it’s kind of returning to how we farmed you know, 100 years ago. Unlocking knowledge that a lot of older growers have, and bringing it back through technology,” shared Siblev.
The robotics company created the robot in the first place as an answer to the labor shortage problems of farm workers. They have targeted agriculture. Another reason for the invention of the robot is to drastically lessen the use of chemical sprays that can have a negative effect on waterways and health.
In a 2019 California Farm Bureau Federation survey that was made, around 56 percent of farmers that have participated said that they ran into issues when it came to hiring a certain number of employees they required in order to produce the main crop.
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