This project is fast-tracking robotic technology for farms. Its purpose is to reinvigorate agriculture through increased production and reduced costs. Such technology can be used to conduct autonomous multi-vehicle operations in applications of weed management, fertilising, and seeding. The use of multiple, cost-effective field robots can enable alternative weed destruction methods such as mechanical, thermal or chemical. It can also enable autonomous methods for picking fruit and vegetables. The Strategic Investment in Farm Robotics (SIFR) $3 million program is funded by Queensland’s Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (QDAF), and it is part of the Australian Centre for Robotic Vision at QUT.
I am one of the chief investigators and a senior research fellow working on the SIFR project. My primary focus is on designing alternative methods for weed management and an inexpensive, lightweight vehicle design for broadacre farming.
Update: The AgBot II moves! Coming soon …. field tests!
O. Bawden, D. Ball, J. Kulk, T. Perez, R. Russell (2014) A Lightweight, Modular Robotic Vehicle for the Sustainable Intensification of Agriculture, Australian Conference on Robotics and Automation (ACRA), Melbourne, Australia.