This project will develop small cooperative agricultural robots to increase broad-acre crop production and reduce environmental impact. The growth in size of agricultural equipment has increased soil compaction damage as well as disruptions due to single machine failures. This project will create a new class of machines to perform weeding which is the key element of zero-tillage agriculture. These robots will have advanced navigation capability using low-cost sensors, unlike current agricultural precision guidance, while also supporting local navigation with respect to weeds and other robots. They will cause less soil damage, apply herbicide more intelligently, and operate as a system that is more robust to individual machine failures.
The first field trials were a success. Video here
QLD State budget - Robotics for Agriculture
The Government will provide additional funding of $3 million over three years from 2013-14 to undertake research in a project with the Queensland University of Technology to develop and fast-track Farm Robotics technology that will re-invigorate productivity growth through increased production and reduced farm input costs. This will continue to support Queensland's world-class research and development capabilities in robotics and its innovative dynamic farm sector.
David Ball presents the AgBot project and QUT robotics group to the Emerging Technologies section of the national AusVeg conference in the Gold Coast, Australia. Andrew Bate from Swarm Farm also present.
Successful demonstration of the AgBot for the QLD Premier Campbell Newman and Minister Jon McVeigh. Video here Photo with team (L-R) QUT Research Fellow, David Ball; QUT PhD student, Patrick Ross; QUT Professor Gordon Wyeth; Minister Jon McVeigh; Premier Campbell Newman; Jocie Bate (Swarm Farm); Andrew Bate (Swarm Farm); Dr Ben Upcroft; QUT PhD student, Andrew English.