Contrasting two robotic developments
The first is an autonomous agricultural robot that you can actually buy, or will be able to soon. It runs on gas and will cost around $100,000 when it becomes available early next year. FHI claims the machine can grow fruit and vegetables independently, although this is difficult to imagine based on the one available photo.
The second is the combination of a robotic hand possessing touch sensitivity and quick, flexible movement with a fast vision system, allowing some rather amazing manipulations of objects (check out the video!).
Of the two, the latter provides me far more hope for the future of robotic land management. A pair of hands like that, mounted on comparably quick arms, themselves mounted on a mobile platform, could be expected to cover every square foot of a several acre plot, every day, performing mechanical operations like planting, weeding, pruning, and harvesting. This represents a significant head start on the necessary hardware.
It’s becoming clear that the hardware development will pretty much take care of itself, as basic abilities like this are developed and combined. The software may require more focused effort; probably will.
Reposted from Cultibotics.