Self driv­ing farm­ers’ ro­bot zaps weeds

The Witness - Wheels - - TRENDS -

SCI­EN­TISTS at the Univer­sity of Lin­coln, UK, have taken de­liv­ery of an ad­vanced new mo­bile ro­bot to sup­port agri-tech ex­per­i­ments at the univer­sity’s agri­cul­tural field sta­tion.

The Thor­vald agri­cul­tural ro­bot, de­vel­oped with sci­en­tists from the Nor­we­gian Univer­sity of Life Sci­ences, is the lat­est piece of tech­nol­ogy added to the fa­cil­i­ties of the Lin­coln In­sti­tute for Agri-food Tech­nol­ogy (Liat).

It will sup­port field tri­als de­liv­ered by sci­en­tists from the Univer­sity of Lin­coln at the univer­sity’s Rise­holme Cam­pus in Lin­colnshire.

The Thor­vald ro­botic plat­form has been built to per­form a wide va­ri­ety of agri­cul­tural tasks, in­clud­ing de­ploy­ment as a multi-pur­pose light weight ro­botic car­ry­ing plat­form, as a sen­sor plat­form to mon­i­tor crops and soils and, po­ten­tially, as a plat­form to man­age crops and for pre­ci­sion weed con­trol. It is ca­pa­ble of op­er­at­ing on un­even ter­rain and ag­ile enough to nav­i­gate be­tween rows of crops with­out touch­ing plants.

Pro­fes­sor Si­mon Pear­son, di­rec­tor of Liat, said the Thor­vald ro­bot will be like a roam­ing, ro­botic lab as­sis­tant able to sup­port a wide va­ri­ety of re­search ac­tiv­i­ties. “The ro­bot will sup­port re­search on au­ton­o­mous out­door nav­i­ga­tion and map­ping, soil qual­ity as­sess­ment, crop yield pre­dic­tion, in-field lo­gis­tics and trans­porta­tion,” Pear­son said.

While stu­dents in South Africa protest for fees to fall, the univer­sity re­ceived grants of over £2,6 mil­lion (R43,6 mil­lion) from Liat to de­liver three out of the 24 projects.

PHOTO: UNIVER­SITY OF LIN­COLN

The Thor­vald agri­cul­tural ro­botic plat­form car­ries sen­sors to mon­i­tor crops and soils and even con­trol weeds.

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