This website documents the progress of the Agribot projects led by the University of Strathclyde, which are intended to apply cutting-edge research from terrestrial and space robotics technology to the development of autonomous robotic systems for monitoring and treatment of crops.
Smart and automated farming practices are an essential technology for increasing yields, lowering production overheads, and maintaining the environment to ensure future productivity. Worldwide, it is now accepted that agricultural productivity will have to increase by 25% to allow limited arable land to meet a doubling of demand by 2050, and interest in agricultural robotics to allow real-time and accurate monitoring and response for crops has rapidly developed as a result.
The AgriRover prototype shown here was built this year by RAL Space and outfitted for autonomous agricultural monitoring duties by SMeSTech Strathclyde. It is a testbed for mobility, navigation, and sensing technologies to enable unsupervised and autonomous operation in monitoring farms. Some technologies are derived from the development of rovers and satellites for use in space, others are based on cutting-edge sensing and processing methods on Earth.
The AgriRover is powered for long periods by efficient lithium-ion batteries that can be recharged automatically at field stations, and navigates using a scanning laser rangefinder, hardware-accelerated stereo vision system, and short-range ultrasonic and inertial sensors. An extendable articulated arm will later hold sensors and allow haptic feedback to human operators as well as autonomous and semi-autonomous operation when gathering data in the field.