Can robots cut farming's carbon footprint?

Discussion in 'Intelligence & Machines' started by Plazma Inferno!, Jun 22, 2016.

  1. Plazma Inferno! Ding Ding Ding Ding Administrator

    The future of agriculture is all about ultra-lightweight robots, satellite data and laser weed killers – and it could be far more energy efficient.
    Simon Blackmore, professor at Harper Adams University, UK estimates 90% of energy used in cultivation is needed to repair the damage done by huge machines.
    Giant tractors compact the earth, squeezing out spaces for air and water, increasing flood risk and reducing productivity. The traditional solution is to plough the field.
    “The best thing to do with soil is to leave it alone,” says Blackmore: “Let the worms do their work.”
    At the National Centre for Precision Farming, his research team is developing robot prototypes that exert far less pressure.
    Instead of spraying entire fields with herbicide, drones can apply microdots directly onto the weed, reducing the volume needed by 99.99%. A 5W laser can zap unwanted plants.
    When it comes to harvest, robots could select only the ripe crops and avoid waste. At present, 20-60% of harvested crops are thrown away because they don’t meet supermarket standards.
    These technologies are some way off widespread commercial use, but Blackmore is convinced that environmental and competitive pressures will drive demand.

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