Robots may soon transform growers’ work with state-of-the-art techniques to cut labour costs.
Researchers from the University of Warwick’s horticulture and manufacturing arms, Warwick HRI and Warwick Manufacturing Group, are working on pioneering machines to reduce manpower and costs.
Students are creating a robotic grasscutter, which they hope will work on its own or in a team of labour-intensive workers. It is based on the Ransomes Spider mower, which can be remotely controlled and mow on 40° inclines.
Lecturer Ken Young said: “We’re creating it by putting a range of different sensors on it, so it knows where obstacles are. We’d like to put it in a field or a park and get it to just cut the areas that need cutting and know what plants to avoid. Then we’ll know it is totally safe with people or obstacles.”
The university is also working on an inflatable, 100m conveyor belt, which would be deployed in polytunnels and fields to ensure high-speed storage and sorting.
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