Japanese farmers are old and as they retire younger Japanese aren't replacing them. Japan imports most of its food. So what to do? Develop a variety of robots to automate farming. One Japanese company is developing a fully automated indoors farm. They expect it to be more energy efficient than outdoors farming.
Automated farming is, as one would expect, under development in other countries as well. Two different robotic weed sprayers are under testing at a Yorkshire England farm and at farms in Queensland Australia.
A robot that picks thru and sorts organic fruit is also under development.
Most farms in America have tractors with some auto steering capability. But enough things can go wrong which the tractor can't handle that humans are still in the cab. Tractor developers (e.g. John Deere) are working on enhancements to autonomous function which will eventually lead to fully autonomous tractors. Read that last link to get a sense of how many technologies are being applied to farming: Lasers, sonar, diesel electric drive trains, and lots of machine learning models.
I suspect we are going to see fully autonomous vehicles roaming around farms before we see them on the roads. Farm fields pose much fewer safety risks. Plus, some farm robots, such as for de-weeding, can be pretty small. We are also going to witness a shift of some farming indoors in very intensive, stacked trays that grow fruits and vegetables all year round.
|Share |||Randall Parker, 2016 April 23 10:02 AM|