Optical Sensors Advancing Precision in Agricultural Production

Seth Murray for Photonics.com: Emerging methods for plant phenotyping involve optical sensors - from simple RGB image sensors to NIR and Raman spectroscopy.

Trimble to Acquire Müller-Elektronik to Extend its Precision Agriculture Capabilities from the Vehicle to the Implement

With more than 375 employees, Müller is a pioneer in precision farming, known for developing, producing and selling Electronic Control Units (ECUs) and embedded software that provides vehicle and implement control for tractors, combine harvesters, field sprayers, drill machines, seeders, spreaders and slurry tankers to improve the management of inputs such as seed, fertilizer and pesticides.

Robotics Ignite Agricultural Revolution

Advanced robotics will make jobs such as harvesting easier for farmers. In time, when robots finally learn how to harvest each individual crop, farms will be able to produce more yields for human consumption.

Abundant Robotics raises $10 million to commercialize its apple-picking robot

Brnice Magistretti for VentureBeat: Picking apples may seem like a fun weekend activity, but its actually backbreaking manual labor. Abundant Robotics wants to help agricultural growers shoulder this task and today announced funding of $10 million, led by GV, to commercialize its apple-picking robot.

Ag Groups Showcase Technology, Sustainability at Maryland Field Day

A trio of industry groups hosted federal officials for a field day of demonstrations on seed treatments, planting practices, and equipment innovations that are bringing continuous improvement to sustainable farming practices.

FireFly Automatix ProSlab 155 Turf Harvester Wins Utah Innovation Award

The AgTech group snags a coveted Utah Innovation Award for its advances in agricultural technology.

Soft Robotics debuts new vision system

Ashley Nickle for The Packer: SuperPick - short for supervisory picking - aims to provide the depth perception and recognition of 3-D using 2-D hardware and human oversight.

AgFunder Announces AgTech Innovation Award Winners for 2016

As innovation in agriculture technology continues to accelerate, AgFunder is highlighting twenty companies and three accelerators for their leadership in innovation.

Why Robotics Will Change Agriculture

Rob Trice & Seana Day via Forbes: Last month as our Mixing Bowl colleagues Michael Rose and An Wang were interviewing Sonny Ranaswamy of the USDAs NIFA to better understand current US food and agriculture labor issues, we were representing The Mixing Bowl in discussions on potential solutions to food production labor issues through automation and robotics. At this years RoboUniverse event in San Diego there was a full-day track on December 14th dedicated to the application of robotics to agriculture. The industry track, pulled together in great part by Nathan Dorn, CEO of Food Origins and an Advisor to The Mixing Bowl, featured a knowledgeable group of automation/robotics experts and food producers who drew on their experience to define the opportunities and sharpen focus on the challenges. Nathan authored a detailed summary of the day in a post on Agfunder. Our conclusion is that there is no denying that we are still in the early days of adoption of robotics in agriculture. Cont'd...

CLAAS and Trimble Announce Trimble Ready Option for LEXION Combines

The announcement was made at Agri Trade Equipment Expo.

Reviving Japan's Dairy Industry, One Milking Robot at a Time

Aya Takada for Bloomberg: Jin Kawaguchiya gave up a career in finance to help revive Japans ailing dairy industry -- one robot at a time. In a country that relies increasingly on imported foods like cheese and butter, Japans milk output tumbled over two decades, touching a 30-year low in 2014. Costs rose faster than prices as the economy stagnated, eroding profit, and aging farmers quit the business because they couldnt find enough young people willing to take on the hard labor of tending to cows every day. But technology is altering that dynamic. On the northern island of Hokkaido, Japans top dairy-producing region, Kawaguchiya transformed the 20-cow farm he inherited from his father-in-law 16 years ago into Asias largest automated milking factory. Robots extract the white fluid from 360 cows three times a day and make sure the animals are fed and healthy. The machines even gather up poop and deposits it in a furnace that generates electricity. Cont'd...

Greenbot: Driverless Tractor

From Greenbot: The Greenbot was introduced at the Agritechnica 2015 trade fair. The Greenbot is the first driverless machine to be developed especially for professionals working in the green sector who have to carry out repetitive tasks on a regular basis, such as working in fruit cultivation, horticulture, agriculture, or the municipal sector. The software that controls the fourwheel steering and hydraulic four-wheel drive system is userfriendly, safe and reliable. The Greenbot can be programmed to function fully independent and can be used to replicate tasks recorded in advance using a tractor with a driver. Programs can also be activated using the remote control, and then the Greenbot repeats the instructions. This mode is called 'Teach & Playback. The Greenbot is furthermore able to independently plan its own route and operations for specific applications, such as spraying orchards or mowing public green areas... ( site )

Driverless Tractors and Drones to be Among the Key Applications for Agricultural Robots

The worldwide market for the agricultural robot has seen a boost in 2015 and many new products that are in field tests are expected to be commercially available by 2016.

Robot Can Pick and Sort Fruit

A robotics breakthrough by product design and development firm Cambridge Consultants is set to boost productivity across the food chain - from the field to the warehouse. It paves the way for robots to take on complex picking and sorting tasks involving irregular organic items - sorting fruit and vegetables, for example, or locating and removing specific weeds among crops in a field. "Traditional robots struggle when it comes to adapting to deal with uncertainty," said Chris Roberts, head of industrial robotics at Cambridge Consultants. "Our innovative blend of existing technologies and novel signal processing techniques has resulted in a radical new system design that is poised to disrupt the industry."

Advances in farming robotics could address shortage in agricultural workers

By Steve Brachmann for IPWatchDog: More and more, the agricultural world is looking towards the mechanization of labor processes through robotics as a way of potentially increasing their productivity. Robotics was identified as a sector of investment growth in agricultural tech by an April 2014 white paper on agriculture technologies published by the entrepreneurship and education non-profit Kauffman Foundation. Robotics is a regular focus of ours here on IPWatchdog, most recently visited in our coverage of the incredible advancements in walking and jumping robotics pioneered by Boston Dynamics, a Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) subsidiary. With American farmers already heavily involved in the regulatory conversation involving the commercial use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or drones, we thought that it would be interesting to delve into the world of farming robotics and see the recent advances in that particular field. Its important to understand first that the robotics being developed for commercial use on farms wont be stand-alone humanoid units ranging through fields to pick crops. Any piece of hardware implementing an algorithm which automates some of the manual work of farming falls under this heading. One good example of this is the LettuceBot, a precision thinning technology which works to visually characterize plants in a lettuce row, identify which plants to keep and eliminating unwanted plants to optimize yield. The unit doesnt move by itself but is guided along by a tractor instead. The technology has been developed by Blue River Technology of Sunnyvale, CA, a company which has attracted $13 million in investment between 2011 and 2014 to commercialize this product. The LettuceBots creators hope toprovide the technology as a third-party service to farm owners before manufacturing the unit for commercial sale. Cont'd...

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Precision Farming - Featured Product

Innovative, Modular, Dual Belt Conveyor Pallet Systems

Innovative, Modular, Dual Belt Conveyor Pallet Systems

Dorner's 2200 Series Precision Move Pallet Systems feature the latest advancements in pallet traffic management. A unique pin tracking system guides pallets through merges and curves while maintaining product orientation. The fast belt change capability increases efficiency and reduces downtime in assembly automation processes. They are available in lengths up to 25 ft., can handle loads up to 500 lbs. and travel at speeds up to 114 ft/min.