When we think about areas where robotics could be useful, one of these niches is agriculture . And in this direction there are already practical results - the experience of Harvest Automation.
Harvest Automation - is a startup founded by ex-employees from iRobot, their goal is to create robot assistants for agriculture, at the moment they already offer a commercial solution for greenhouse farms growing pot plants - robots gardeners HV-100 .
Moving a potted plant is not at first glance such a difficult task, but in large greenhouses there are millions of these pots. And according to the technological process (watering, processing, space for growth, cutting, sorting, selling) it is necessary to move all this quantity - then this can not be called highly intellectual work, it becomes a routine - to transfer 5000 pots a day ...
By the way, how is it we went to harvest potatoes in our student days, then in the USA some students are sent to such tasks - moving pots in greenhouses :).
And precisely for the solution of such problems - robotic systems are created by Harvest Automation.
Robots do work that people don’t want to do.
Robots can autonomously rearrange hundreds of pots from one zone to another - by sorting, or by changing the arrangement parameters (distance between the pots).
Here is a video of what it looks like in computer simulation:
4 gardening robots at work:
Robots are specially designed to work outdoors .
For the robot to work, only a special yellow stripe detector is needed - relative to which they determine their position.
Greenhouse in Ohio
Small presentation of the robot at the exhibition:
November, Texas, plants are arranged for the winter shelter of
Alabama - the heat can be at 38 degrees, but for robots this is not a problem.
Robots Maverick, Goose, Cougar and Iceman “on a break”
8 new robots await delivery to customers in the states of North Carolina and Iowa
What does a Gardener Robot consist of?
The HV-100 robot consists of:
- A - laser range finder
- B - line detector
- C - manipulator
- D - start / stop the robot
- E - electronics unit with user interface
- F - roller for balance
The carrying capacity of the robot is about 10 kg.
Weight: 40 kg.
Operating time: 7-8 hours of battery life (between battery reloads).
Price: $ 30,000 (payback for 12-18 months of use).
Automatic stop when a person is detected, recognition of a neighbor robot.
Investment and Development
Since 2010, the startup has received about $ 24 million in funding. Since 2013 - the first commercial sales. In 2014, the company plans to enter the European market. At the moment, more than 20 greenhouses are already robotic.
Interview with Joe Jones, CTO, Harvest Automation
This direction is supported not only by business, but also by the government: the US Department of Agriculture's (USDA) allocated $ 4.5 million in grants for agricultural robotization in 2013.
Let's hope that in Russia, there will be something in this direction.