Although in full expansion mode, the robotics market for agriculture is still in its infancy. In the fields, few automated machines are currently sold and many of them are still in the test phase. This year, FIRA (International Forum of Agricultural Robotics) will take place in Toulouse on December 10th and 11th for its 4th edition. The goal is to allow actors of the sector to discuss issues related to robotics.
“The idea is to bring together, in one place, all the actors of agricultural robotics, from experts to farmers, and to put them in touch. Many studies are now carried out on the subject. We have identified nearly 100 more or less mature projects around the world."
"Agricultural robotics has existed for about 20 years, with indoor milking robots, but the bigger challenge today are outdoor robots which must face agronomic, climate, tracking problems in the field, and safety issues of course. That’s why we wanted to create an event dedicated to this topic that will take a significant place in today’s agricultural revolution, and dedicated to innovation and digital agriculture,” explains Gwendoline Legrand, co-director of FIRA.
On the agenda
The event will be organized around 5 parts. On day 1, cutting-edge topics such as safety and the global robotics market will be addressed during a conference and a panel discussion for experts like manufacturers and distributors. There will also be some time devoted to agricultural advisers and farmers, with workshops per sector (viticulture, field crops, breeding and fruits and vegetables), and a workshop about the support for farmers, the evolution of the farming and advising professions with the emergence of robotics.
On day 2, manufacturers and suppliers will pitch solutions to issues related to agricultural robotics like the autonomy of the machines, the operation of the sensors etc. 30 discussions of 10 minutes each, will punctuate the day. A Scientific Symposium will also be organized by Robagri, as well as business meetings which can be planned ahead of time using the registration platform.
“We really want to focus on the exchange between experts and farmers throughout the event. We made sure to dedicate some relatively important question and answer time after each intervention. The goal of FIRA is not to convince that robotics is the revolution, but to build together around the sector,” explains Gwendoline.
An international fair that is gaining momentum
FIRA attracted 150 visitors for its first edition, and 650 last year. For this fourth edition, FIRA hopes to exceed 1,000 visitors. “More and more farmers attend because it is not at all a fair dedicated only to experts, manufacturers, suppliers and distributors. The goal is not to sell robots but rather to discuss with farmers, get their feedback, and even build partnerships in order to test robots under real conditions. The international aspect has strongly developed. Visitors and experts from around the world come in increasingly large numbers to exchange around this niche topic of interest. The number of robots displayed has more than doubled since last year. 6 robot manufacturers were present in 2018 and 17 are expected this year, which shows how fast the sector is evolving.”
This link allows you to register for the event.