The Robots are Coming (Direct Driller Issue 2 - Article 11)

Discussion in 'Direct Driller Magazine' started by Direct Driller Magazine, Jul 1, 2018.

  1. Robots Direct Drilling


    Many think we are on the verge of the next farming shift. Like when tractors took over from horses, will autonomous implements take over from tractors? Farming is arguably one of the last analogue industries. But many farmers are ready to go digital and already embracing a number of new technologies. Robotics, artificial intelligence, drones, satellites, autonomous vehicles and blockchain: these are all elements of the ecosystem which will make up the Digital Farm in the future.


    And sooner than you may expect, it can all start with direct drilling. The Small Robot Company’s direct drilling robot Harry is currently in development, funded with an Innovation award from the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) and the High Value Manufacturing Catapult (HVMC) to develop the prototype technology. Commercial trials will start on select UK farms in October. Harry will accurately place seed individually in the ground at a uniform depth to within 2cm accuracy. This creates a plant level digital map showing the location of each seed. And in doing so, Harry digitises the field.

    This is a radical development. And one of many going on at the moment. Robotic technology is coming; but at the Small Robot Company, they believe it must be by farmers, for farmers. Their technology was designed following extensive consultation with more than 100 farmers. This has led to a different design than you may have expected. And so Harry has an ‘arachnid’ design, with a three metre boom, enabling him to fold up compactly for transport by transit van. Or you could move multiple Harrys on the back of a trailer.



    There is no news yet on hopper sizes and speeds it can travel, so we don’t yet know all the details on how much land Harry can cover in a day. But, the way the Small Robot Company have approached the solution, it may not matter to the farmer. Because they are not selling technology: instead, they are providing a service to create a healthy crop. You won’t buy Harry. Farmers will pay a per hectare subscription fee for a robotic hardware service which digitises the farm and delivers crop care at per-plant precision. If you would like to see and learn more, check the events section at the back of the magazine for the next event the Small Robot company are running.

    You can read the Article online which is on Page 27 Of Direct Driller Magazine here:

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