Firm sees small robots solving labour shortage

HERNING, Denmark — A small farm tool robotics platform carries the promise of robots in the field sooner rather than later.

Called Robotti, the theory is that many light hands can make the work lighter and cover the acres.

Robotics and innovative technology are emerging as key players in the global effort to improve agriculture and already exist in various formats.

Cows are already being milked by robots, sensors are already im-proving feeding regimes and identifying diseases and drones are already helping with crop management.

However, what does the next wave of ingenious innovation have in store?

Robotti, which is a modular construction implement carrier from Denmark, has its lift installed between the two wheel modules and can support 750 kilograms, despite the fact that it weighs only 600 kg.

Robotti is destined to replace a tractor in row crop farming and market garden applications, and the company has big plans for the future.

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Ole Green, chief executive officer of Agrointelli, said the opportunities are endless.

“There are three Robotti machines in the range with 21.6 horsepower, 26 h.p. and 34 h.p., powered by Kubota engines.

“Each unit can have a track width of up to four metres for implements and can have an extra en-gine fitted to control power take off functions,” he said.

“Currently the unit can run for seven hours non-stop. EU regulations stipulate that these driverless vehicles must be monitored from a distance in case they need to be stopped manually, but they are mostly controlled from the farm computer or mobile app from distances of one km away.

“These machines can be further developed to spray pesticides, carry out rotavator work and potentially even harvest crops.

“They are four-wheel-drive so can work through any terrain. There is a huge concern about labour availability in the future but with Robotti, labour issues are addressed.”

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Operating speed for Robotti ranges from six to eight km-h with maximum traction load.

The idea is that the farmer has several small field robots instead of one large robot, and an operator can easily monitor three to five robots simultaneously.

The company sold one of its units at a recent agricultural fair in Herning, Denmark, to a university in Norway.

The cost of the smaller 21 h.p. unit is $85,300.

Robotti goes to full launch in the spring of 2017.

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