The Future of Agricultural Automation
Throughout history the development of food technology has been at the forefront of societal development. When the first farmers developed irrigation and grain stores it freed people up to spend time on other things. In 1960 the average American farmer fed around 25 people, today that number is 155. In Ireland we are intimately tied to the land. As a country of 5 million people we punch above our weight in agriculture and food. At Robotics & Drives we work with many food producers at a factory level. The next big step we see for the Irish food sector is automation on the farm level. As a world class sustainable producer in order to keep a strong lead we should support and develop our agricultural automation industry.
The latest numbers from Tractica suggest we are on the brink of another agricultural revolution. From below $3 billion in sales worldwide in 2015 to over $10 billion forecast for 2019. This phenomenal growth will undoubtably have a massive impact on the global food chain. Agricultural robots can make the running of farms much more efficient and sustainable.
Inventions such as Wall-Ye and automated Vine pruning robot for Vinyards are changing the way people think of farming. The Inventor behind Wall-Ye, Christopher Millot explains the robot will create jobs for “for someone who will build, maintain and improve the robots.” The 2016 agBOT competition is also helping push things forward. The competition sets out to improve efficiency and reduce waste on farms. Teams are pushed to create robotic solutions that can plant, measure and track crop seeds.
With so many exciting opportunities the agricultural automation sector will be one to watch in the years to come. We expect strong innovation in areas of optic sensors, heavy lifting capacity, drone technology and precision pruning.