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Environment & Agriculture

Source: Deepfield Robotics
Source: Deepfield Robotics

Farmers are increasingly under pressure to feed more people. The UN predicts that the world population will rise from 7.3 billion today to 9.7 billion in 2050. This growing population has become pickier about the food they eat. In the EU alone, the organic market grew by 7.4% in 2014 with sales valued at €24 billion. Beyond organic food, there is an overall push to make farming greener by using less water and pesticides.

by   -   April 27, 2016

CampFromAboveYou are faced with a few thousand hectares of rainforest that you know harbours one or more orangutans that you need to track down. Where, how, and why do you start looking?

New Zealand country map polygonal with spot lights placesNew Zealand’s government innovation agency Callaghan Innovations and Silicon Valley’s innovation non-profit SVForum organized Transforming AgTech, an event bringing together New Zealand and US agricultural startups in typical Silicon Valley style.

Silicon Valley Robotics Rich Mahoney and Andra Keay led a panel on robotics and agriculture. Here, they highlight NZ startups and innovation groups present at the event.

New Zealand’s government innovation agency Callaghan Innovations and Silicon Valley’s innovation non-profit SVForum organized: “Transforming Ag Tech,” an event bringing together New Zealand and US agricultural startups in typical Silicon Valley style.

Source: Clearpath Robotics
Source: Clearpath Robotics

By: Chris Bogdon
Amir Degani is an assistant professor at Technion Institute of Technology and Avi Kahnani is the CEO and Co-Founder of Israeli robotics start-up Fresh Fruits Robotics. Together, they are developing an apple harvesting robot that can autonomously navigate apple orchards and accurately pick fruit from the trees. I got the chance to sit down with Amir and Avi to learn more about the project. In our talk, they discussed the robot’s design, the challenges of apple picking, tree training and their experience demoing the robot for Microsoft’s CEO at the Think Next 2016 exhibition.

by   -   December 28, 2015

Waypoint_drones_winemaking_Agriculture_aerial_surveying_William_Metz_SenseflyIn 2014, viticulturist William Metz was granted a fellowship by the Villa d’Este Wine Symposium to spend a full year evaluating the potential applications of drones in wine making — a project that saw him fly his senseFly-donated eBee drone at 15 vineyards across France, Switzerland and Germany. In this video William discusses his unique research project and the value he believes drones can bring to the wine making process.

by   -   December 21, 2015

Yamaha_crop_Sprayer_Drone_RMAX

The FAA granted Yamaha Motor Corporation an Agricultural Aircraft Operations certificate for their RMAX crop spraying remotely piloted helicopters.

by   -   December 18, 2015

keyboard_christmas_present_holiday_gift

Jibo got $16 million from Asian VCs to enable Jibo to speak and sell in Japan and China, while Blue River Technology got $17 million from a group of agricultural VCs to expand product development to new areas, as funding for robotic ventures continues to soar. UPDATED To include funding for Soft Robotics, Inc. Flyability, and Naïo Technologies.

by   -   October 29, 2015
Source: Jeff Kubina via Wikimedia Commons
Source: Jeff Kubina via Wikimedia Commons

Here’s an interesting robotics challenge – a coalition of blueberry farmers are offering a $250,000 prize for automation solutions that improve blueberry picking. The deadline for entries in the competition has been extended to December 4, 2015. Apparently farmers can’t keep up with the record high demand for blueberries.

by   -   October 15, 2015

Monitoring the ocean for pollution, ecology and climate change effects is a costly and elaborate task, especially in a complex area like Venice, with its lagoon, its many channels, cable and pipe infrastructure, industrial areas, harbor, marshland, and mussel farms. An interdisciplinary team of European scientists is breaking new ground in underwater environmental monitoring with the EU-funded subCULTron project. With a budget of 4M Euros, they are developing the world’s largest intelligent underwater monitoring system that coordinates, communicates and collects data autonomously. The first presentation of subCULTron prototypes takes place at EXPO 2015 in Venice on October 15 and 16.

interview by   -   July 10, 2015

CLAAS_Field_Automation

Transcript included.

In this episode, Per Sjöborg talks to Hans-Peter Grothaus, from CLAASabout automation in agriculture.

Google's self driving car. Source: Google
Google’s self driving car. Source: Google

Google is putting 25 new self-driving cars onto the streets of Mountain View, California, but agricultural equipment manufacturer John Deere reminds us that it already has tens of thousands of self-driving tractors in service around the world.

by   -   June 24, 2015

FSR-2015

FSR, the biannual single track meeting on field and service robotics, is on now in Toronto. With 42 papers on a range of applications and keynotes by Chris Urmson (Google[x]), Paul Newman (Oxford), Sanjiv Singh (CMU), and Ryan Gariepy (Clearpath Robotics), lots of ground will be covered. Robohub’s Hallie Siegel is on site at the event – check out the live tweets below.

by   -   May 14, 2015

The 2016 agBOT Robotic Seeding Challenge challenges participants to build unmanned robotic equipment to plant, measure and track multiple crop seeds to improve farming efficiency.

Dry California riverbed. Source: Wikimedia Commons
Dry California riverbed. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Groundwater levels in California’s Central Valley are down to historic lows and reservoirs have been depleted following four consecutive years of severe drought in the state. California is set to introduce water rationing in the coming weeks, and though the new rationing rules will focus on urban areas and not farms for the time being, they serve as a warning bell to farmers who will inevitably need to adapt to the effects of climate change on food production. Long term solutions are needed to help make agriculture drought resistant. How could robotics help?

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