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How do robots help in the agriculture industry?

How do robots help in the agriculture industry?
According to experts there are mainly two reasons for robots to take over many agricultural operations.
According to experts there are mainly two reasons for robots to take over many agricultural operations. First of all, the agriculture industry is struggling within the current economic situation with several farms unable to push their bottom lines forward. It is at this point that farmers are forced to look towards new solutions that would enable them to increase their earnings.
The second reason is that technology, especially robotic technology, is increasingly becoming a part of several industries and the entry to agriculture is just a natural progression.

According to IDTechEx, robots and drones have already started to quietly transform many aspects of agriculture. This market, which was found to be worth $3 billion in 2016, is expected to expand to $10 billion by 2022. The research firm further points out several divisions within the agriculture industry that are utilizing robots.

Dairy Farms: Across the globe, several robotic milking parlors are currently in use. This is a $1.9 billion industry that is expected to grow to $8.5 billion by 2026. There are also certain mobile robots that are making entry into dairy farms doing work such as feed pushing and manure cleaning.

Autonomous Tractors: Tractors that can function on their own are going mainstream, thanks to the advancements and cost reductions in global positioning technology. In 2016 alone, over 300,000 tractors equipped with auto steer or tractor guidance was expected to be sold and this is expected to rise to over 660,000 units per year by 2026. However, some of the factors that have delayed the introduction of unmanned autonomous tractors to large-scale market are regulations, costs and customer trust. These are expected to change in the coming years.

Agricultural drones: Since the early 1990s, Japanese farmers have used remote-controlled helicopters to spray rice fields. Today, autonomous drones serve to give detailed aerial maps of farms, allowing farmers to take action based on precise data. According to IDTechEx, the use of such drones in agriculture will only increase with time, with the market reaching $485 million in 2026. Enabling this growth will be easing regulatory norms and technological advancements.

Robotic Weeding Implements: The organic farming industry has been making use of vision-enabled robotic gadgets for quite a while now. These are adept at following crop rows, identifying the weeds, and aiding mechanical hoeing. Now, more advanced versions of these robots are in development and in early phase of deployment. Making these autonomous machines intelligent will be the massive data that is used to train its algorithms using deep learning techniques. The market for this industry is expected to be valued at $380 million by 2026.

Unmanned autonomous robotic weeders and data scouts: It won’t be too long before we see autonomous, smart robots that can see and identify objects roaming around farms, analyzing plants and taking appropriate action like eliminating weed. Companies are already attempting to manufacture these intelligent machines, and many of them are in the prototype and semi-commercial stage. By 2026, this market is expected to be worth $300 million.

Fruit harvesting robots: Until recently, there haven’t been much development in the area of robots that can be used to harvest fresh fruits. However, now significant progress is being made in this regard, with robots that are intelligent enough to understand whether a fruit is ripe enough to be plucked and harvest it in the right way. The Spanish company Agrobot is an example of players that are making progress in this. Its robot SW 6010 uses sensors and robotic arms to detect ripe berries and pick these from the ground. Other companies have come up with robots that can vegetables and fruits like cucumbers, bell peppers and oranges. Experts expect this market to pick up from 2021 onwards, growing to be worth $230 million by 2026. 

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