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UK engineers usher in farm 4.0 with agribot trial

May 10, 2019 / The Engineer

Engineers at the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) in Coventry are collaborating with a Hampshire robotics firm on the development of robots and artificial intelligence solutions for the farming and food production sectors. 
The MTC researchers are working with the firm, the Small Robot Company, on the development of a new generation of digitally-controlled robots that are able to plant seeds, apply fertiliser and herbicides, as well as weed crops with the kind of precision more commonly associated with sectors like automotive or aerospace. The team claims that the farmbots could improve the way food is produced, minimise chemical use, and help increase yield and efficiency.
Prototypes of the robots have been produced and are carrying out field trials on 20 farms across the UK including the Waitrose Leckford Estate Farm and the National Trust’s Wimpole Estate. Funding for the project has come from Innovate UK and the MTC, boosted by £1.2 million in crowd-funding.