I do not know about you, but in my opinion the name of “ecological farms” has always clashed with the agricultural machines used on them, the engines of which are not emission-free after all. This problem was hit by the British Small Robot Company, which was founded in 2017 on the initiative of entrepreneur Ben Scott-Robinson and Sam Watson-Jones, who has been a farmer in his family for the fourth generation. Their inspiration, in turn, was taken from Simon Blackmore, whose vision was to replace huge tractors with small robots.
So Small Robot Company had a good chance to create something revolutionary, which is currently in the project phase under the name FaaS – Farming as a Service. This comes down to the use of autonomous robots in the field, which will take care of the local seedlings. So far, a phenomenal trio has arisen – Tom, Dick (someone must have someone with that name in the family) and Harry. Each of them is, of course, a technological work of art, combining autonomy with utility straight from science-fiction movies. The basic concept for this concept is Tom, a small and inconspicuous robot that traverses the next square kilometers in its daily work rhythm, creating digital equivalents of a given field, monitoring each seedling separately, generating tens of gigabytes of data.
It is on their basis that the WILMA artificial intelligence system decides on the next steps, which boils down to releasing Dick from the cage. This is because it is used only when one of the plants requires additional care. On the basis of the data sent to him, Dick drives to her, locates her, and then doses her fertilizers straight to the roots, and sprinkles the stem and leaves with nutritious and protective chemicals. If necessary, it also fights against intruders, which are of course weeds – by serving them a destructive mixture, burning them or simply crushing them. The whole trio is completed by Harry the size of an adult and the weight of a child, which he decomposes into four “legs”. This, in turn, can boast a great precision, which was used in planting seeds and mapping them to the aforementioned WILMA system.
And now for the best
We can of course take the work of the Small Robot Company as a phenomenal idea on paper, the practical reflection of which will be a failure. But that’s not the case, because the company has already made these three prototypes, and they regularly visit Sam’s farm to help him grow and show what they can really do.
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Source: Digital Journal