Self driving farmers’ robot zaps weeds
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.
The Thorvald agricultural robotic platform carries sensors to monitor crops and soils and even control weeds.