To grow healthy grapes and apples, weeding and spraying tasks need to be repeated several times during the growth process. Depending on the year – and if some pest occurs – more passages are required. In addition to being repetitive, these chores tend to be expensive – consider refueling tractors and labor costs – and time-consuming. Automated robots represent a solution to these problems, relieving farmers from repetitive tasks and optimizing them.
Robs4Crops is an EU-funded project – via the Horizon scheme – involving 16 partners across Europe. Universities, agricultural robots companies, and farmers are all part of the program. The venture started in January 2021 with Wageningen University coordination. Improving productivity, reducing agriculture’s environmental impact, and decreasing reliance on hand labor are the main goals. AI and robot technology can be leveraged to achieve those.
What the project brings is a robotic platform that can assist farmers with different tasks, and that can be tailored to different settings too. During the two years project, the tool is being perfected, in order to make it available to everyone in Europe once the trials are done. To gather more data and to improve the platform’s efficiency, the project spans 4 years – to try the robot in two different farm years. This year’s pilot tests are starting this month, in different locations all over Europe – Spain, France, Greece, and the Netherlands.