Automation on the farm: Ag bots and more

Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Posted

With honeybees dying and immigrants being turned back at the border, who’s going to pollinate and pick our peppers and tote our tomatoes?

No sweat. A research team at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel is working on a fleet of robots that won’t need green cards and can’t complain about low-wage farm labor.

The group is working on a smart sprayer that can apply pesticides selectively, a pepper-harvesting robot, and a drone bee that will gather pollen from one flower and deposit it on another.

TRENDPOST: European farmers are paying premium wages to attract field workers, and Israel and the US are among the countries importing people to pick crops. Automating farm work with smart robots is in its infancy, but a global market is waiting. Early efforts will apply the technology to popular crops that are the easiest to grow and hardy enough to withstand rough handling, like squash.