Agricultural Robotics

The main research activities in the robotics and control group are related to agricultural robotics. We develop robotic solutions for efficient and sustainable operation of agricultural processes and precision farming. We have developed our own robotic platforms as well as the tools and agricultural implements used in all the stages of the operation in the field - from autonomous presicion seeding to weeding and harvesting.

Agricultural Robotics

Food production and agriculture are facing enormous challenges over the next few years with a growing population and a more challenging climate. The world's population is expected to grow rapidly and an estimated 70% increase in food production is required in just a few decades. Climate changes will not only give global warming, but also more intesive rainfall. This is a huge challenge for conventional agricultural machines. Large and heavy machinery will damage wet soil and will also get stuck in muddy fields.

To overcome these challenges we develop innovative and intellient technological solutions for a more efficient and sustainable agriculture.

Thorvald is our first prototype of a low-cost and light-weight agricultural robot. It is battery driven and has four powerful electric motors which makes it capable of performing work in the field. Four-wheel steering makes it extremely mobile. The frame is flexible, which guarantees that all four wheels are in contact with the ground at all times for optimal traction. The robot can operate up to 10 hours without charging or changing its batteries.

The NMBU Agricultural robot Thorvald at the research farm in Ås, Norway.

The NMBU Agricultural robot Thorvald at the research farm in Ås, Norway.

Photo
Lars Grimstad

Intelligent tools for autonomous operation

One of the main challenges of robotic farming is that we need to develop novel tools that can be used on an autonomous robot with considerably less power than a tractor. We are currently testing several new concepts for atuonomous operation that require far less energy than conventional systems. We are developing tools for operations such as

  • seeding - tools for optimal seed placement,
  • weeding - intelligent and non-chemical weeding,
  • monitoring - gata gathering in the field, etc.
Published 9. February 2015 - 17:53 - Updated 17. April 2018 - 16:50

Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU)

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