Since the dawn of early times, agriculture has been one of man’s most valuable economic activity. This activity provides us with food, fiber, feed and the necessary fuel for our survival. Through the increase in global population which is expected to reach 9 billion by 2050, agricultural production must double if it is to meet the increasing demands for food and bioenergy. It is also predicted that to control and limit the growing pressure that agriculture will be putting on the environment, agricultural productivity must increase by 25% to meet this goal. This is due to the fact that we already are facing the scarcity of land, water and labor resources.
Agricultural automation and manufacturing can play a significant role in society in meeting 2050 agricultural production needs. Throughout the past decades robots have played a fundamental role in increasing the effectiveness and the reduction in costs of industrial production and products. It has not been long since similar trends have started to take place in agriculture, with GPS- and vision-based self-guided tractors and harvesters already being available commercially. More recently, farmers started experimenting with different self-administered or augmented operations such as pruning, thinning and harvesting, as well as mowing, spraying, and weed removal. Moreover, sensors and control systems have been introduced to allow optimal resources and integrated pest and disease management.
Characteristics of Agriculture Automation
- The decrease in costs and expenses. As a manufacturing company adds different automation elements into its production of products, the competitive advantage is increased for that particular company. Through this type of automation, the company will be able to reduce several costs through reducing staff and the increase in productivity. This would be made possible through robots which would be capable to run all day long.
- Enhancement in Productivity, as I previously stated, automated systems can work long works, throughout the night and weekends, which provides an overall boost in productivity.
- The capability of detecting weeds and any other forms of unwanted items through built-in sensors and cameras. Consequently, reducing the stress of having to separate products.
- Consistency, reliability and accuracy, automated equipment and robotics can produce and continuously repeat in a consistent way a final product. Automation eliminates the common issue of human errors which may reduce the overall quality of production. Manufacturing processes can be sensibly controlled and manipulated in order to maintain and increase the overall quality of the products. Therefore this makes it the most advantageous aspect of automated equipment.
Our main aim at FIN is to participate in research and development for current and future agricultural robot designs and ideas. We focus on innovation and modernisation through robotics in the agriculture automation processes, in order to enable a safe and cost-effective solution. This whilst continuing to work towards reaching the principal goal, which is to increase by 25% the agricultural productivity of the Islands.