Low-Cost Agricultural Robots Address Lack of Farm Labor

A startup company in the United Kingdom has developed a low-cost robotic platform for agricultural implements, reports the University of Plymouth. The Robotriks Traction Unit (RTU) costs just over $9,000, and can be used for tasks ranging from soil and crop monitoring to row-crop harvesting. The battery-powered RTU works either by remote control or autonomously, at speeds up to 10 mph, and it is able to carry several hundred pounds. It is made from mass-produced standard parts, including a large drive wheel, suspension, and a computer system, all held together by galvanized pipe, on which farmers can attach a variety of implements. The developers envision their technology as an aid to farmers by providing needed labor for jobs that people aren’t available to fill.