Agribots are starting their work to relieve farmers from the monotonous tasks of planting, growing, and harvesting, as well as to solve the issues associated with the labor shortage.
EastFruit has repeatedly drawn attention to the innovations of the horticulture robot market. In Parts I and II of this article, we will consider the main agricultural robots and GPS-based automated self-propelled agricultural machinery, as well as the drivers of the global agricultural robot market.
According to a Kenneth Research report on the global market for agricultural robots, the world’s population will grow by 40% to 9.7 billion by 2050 – fruit production will double. The area of fruit-growing land worldwide will double to 140 million hectares by 2050. Employment in agriculture will halve by 2050, resulting in a shortage of 5 million fruit pickers.
The shortage of pickers is already causing more than 10% of fruits and vegetables worldwide to be left unpicked in fields and orchards. This is equivalent to annual consumption in the EU.
Why do farmers need agribots?
Agricultural robots are autonomous machines used to improve crop quality and efficiency, minimize reliance on manual labor and increase overall productivity. For example, workers on robotic platforms in horticulture and fruit picking are twice as efficient as workers using ladders.
Farming robots, agribots grow and harvest crops. Besides, they perform other tasks complex and monotonous for a man – those related to loading, watering, fertilizing, weeding, data collection, field mapping, soil analysis, environmental monitoring, etc.
Robots or cobots?
For many industries, including agriculture, robots have become “cobots” (collaborative robots that can be trusted to perform tasks on behalf of a man). With the help of IoT solutions, cobots can now perform more precise tasks depending on their use case. Cobots remain the fastest-growing industrial automation segment, with a CAGR of 43.4% from 2021 to 2027.
It is the search for the perfect interaction between a man and a machine in agriculture.
Modern cobots are versatile and flexible, adapting to agriculture. Especially where urban farming is developing. In Singapore, they aim to achieve 30% of local food production through local farms by 2030. The government is encouraging farmers to implement automation and cobots to increase productivity and financial gain. As more cobots are introduced into the agricultural landscape, robotics technology training will become more common than before.