Autonomous robot swarm takes over farm work

October 31, 2012

A new robot developed by David Dorhout and colleagues from Dorhout R&D is designed to plant seeds in a field while coordinating with a gang of other robotic farmhands, according to New Scientist.

The robot can walk in any direction while avoiding obstacles, using a sensor underneath its body to detect where seeds have already been planted. Once it finds an untouched patch, it drills a hole in the ground and releases a seed, triggering an electronic eye that guides the planting.

The robot’s communication system is inspired by the way ants self-organize.

Whereas other automated systems are designed to replace people with electronics — tractors that drive themselves, for example — Dorhout’s approach is to improve the farming process.

So far, the prototype is able only to plant seeds. But the system is being developed to weed, fertilise and harvest as well, ultimately creating autonomous robots that can perform whatever tasks are necessary year round.

For more about the robotic future of farming, see the full-length feature, “Farmerbots: a new industrial revolution.”

Video Source: Dorhout R&D

Autonomous robot swarm takes over farm work