FIRA is the global event for Agricultural Robots in Action, held from February 6-8, 2024 in Toulouse, France. Tech Farmer will be partnering with the event to bring you all the latest robotic content.
If you have the merest interest in the latest innovations in advanced robots or yearn to see autonomous machines in operation, then it’s worth attending World FIRA 2024.
With five real-world demo zones that put robots in real-life conditions in different crops – vines, orchards, vegetables, field crops – FIRA lays claim as the largest agricultural robot playground in the world where you get to be the first to get a sneak peek at what agriculture of the future has in store for us.
Attend more than 20 robot demos, from prototypes to commercially available robots. From weeding to spreading fertiliser, including harvesting, picking and sowing, automation is in the spotlight, whether for large crops, vegetables, orchards, vineyards, market gardening or livestock! Here we’ve picked out some highlights that’ll appeal to the in-field automation pioneer.
Aigro Up – Aigro UP has an agriculture robot that assists you with weeding and mowing. It focuses on tasks that are realistic to automate, but highly time consuming right now.
The robotic vehicle is a narrow machine, so it can navigate to orchards easily. In addition, the robot uses sensors which allow for continuous motion across terrains that would need other vehicles to stop and operate only in specific locations on their route. It achieves this not through relying solely on RTK GPS, but by making use of a set of smart sensors.
Aigro UP is an electrical power robot that can run up to 10 hours on a single charge and has two swappable battery packs, allowing a full day’s operation without any hassle or inconvenience. We believe the price of the Aigro robot is between €25.000 and €30.000, depending on the options.
K.U.L.T.iSelect – This is a robotic hoe claiming the highest precision in the row and between the plants.
It brings precise single-plant detection, high processing precision and tool depth guidance through automatic exact parallel guidance of the entire machine to the soil surface.
There’s a user-friendly and intuitive terminal, which allows easy machine monitoring and adjustment from the tractor cab. Hydraulic and electric power supply comes from the tractor with very low power requirements.
Modular design allows for individual operational needs. Also available as a multi-section version, for three- or two-step processing in one pass.
Afara – Based in Turkey, Afara has developed an autonomous cotton-picking robot, which collects cotton spilled on the ground after harvest. Afara-Cotton uses image-processing electronic-mechanical systems.
Afara also produces two other systems: Afara-Sprayer is an autonomous agricultural robot claimed to efficiently perform operations such as fertilisation, irrigation, spraying, etc., according to the location of the plant with image processing. Afara-Terminator is an autonomous agricultural robot compatible with organic farming that detects and destroys weeds with image processing.
Weta Robot – Weta is an autonomous all-terrain platform designed for use in agriculture and forestry. It can be loaded with tools and packs for autonomous surveillance, inspection, pulverisation, pruning, land clearing, and harvesting. This EV comes packed with radar, lidar, communication systems, articulated axles, and low-impact tyres to ensure ease of movement in complex terrains such as the terraced vineyard slopes of Portugal’s Douro region, where it was developed.
Odd Bot – Odd Bot promises to bring farmers of high-density crops the future in smart and sustainable precision weeding. The company claims its mechanical weed removal robot provides a higher yield with less manual labour, reducing and eventually eliminating the need to use any chemical herbicides.
The unit removes weeds at an early stage through autonomous mechanical in-row weeding, allowing crops more space to grow, which in turn improves yield, say its makers. 100% organic, the robot does not use any chemicals and does not damage the crops. It’s also on demand , so you decide when the weeding needs to take place, and Od Bot takes care of the rest.
Robot One V2023 – Pixel Farming Robotics’ Robot One is equipped with 14 depth-sensing cameras and dual GPS antennas, making it suited for large-scale and biodiverse environments.
Robot One is claimed to help farmers transition to regenerative farming, easing establishment of cover crops and reduced tillage with specialised tools.
All electric, solar panels are mounted on the roof and power Robot One autonomously through the fields, charging the battery while driving. The electric drivetrain and lightweight construction enable Robot One to handle the various agricultural terrains.
Robotti – Agronintelli’s Robotti is an autonomous, versatile field robot designed to be integrated into many everyday jobs in the fields, in horticulture and in tree nurseries or similar areas with row or bed crops. It is diesel powered, uses a standard three point linkage so it can be fitted with standard farm implements.
There are two models of Robotti – 150D and LR. The two Robotti models differ in the number of engines, availability of a PTO drive, lifting power and tank volume capacity and thus in the autonomous range.
The three-point hitch makes the Robotti an implement carrier designed for a wide variety of implements. The typical tasks are sowing, planting, hoeing, spraying and light tillage. The working speed is adjustable and allows autonomous continuous operations of up to 20 hours for the 150D and up to 60 hours for the LR.
For more on the Robotti, see the article on pxx
Trektor – Sitia claims its Trektor is the first hybrid robot for agriculture. It can work on different crops – viticulture for both narrow and wide rows vineyards, market gardening, vegetable field crops and arboriculture – and performs many repetitive tasks, such as soil cultivation, spraying and hoeing.
Trektor can change its width (wheelbase) or height (adjustable ground clearance) to adapt to the crop.It’s also compatible with existing implements, thanks to a standard three-point linkage (cat. 2) and points of attachment behind and between the wheels.
Arow Box – Arow Box is a high-tech component of Ullmanna’s Decimal platform designed for precision weed control in agriculture. Using artificial intelligence and machine vision, Arow Box identifies and targets crops in real-time, providing a chemical-free, environmentally friendly solution for weed control.
It’s an intra-row weeding system that includes features such as visual odometry, innovative lighting for cameras, and depth sensors claimed to ensure optimal operation even under challenging field conditions. The unit spots crop plants in real time and its makers have set out to achieve the fastest intra-row hoeing operation available. The Arow Box forms the hardware backbone of the Decimal platform, while the software services are offered to end users, typically farmers, on a SaaS model.
RoboCut360 – this tool from Leger Innovation helps arborists manage their orchard without any use of pesticides and with a limited number of staff. It’s a self-propelled and self-driving vehicle equipped with the EcoCut360 head which prunes the suckers from around the base of fruit trees. A weeding head as well as a mulcher can be mounted on the tool holder in order to weed the soil between the trees and in the aisle.
Robotic Perception – This autonomous electric vehicle from Isreal is a sprayer, mower and crop monitor for vineyards. It scans the crop, analyses irrigation requirement and checks for virus stress.
Slopehelper – Designed for a challenging terrain, this robotic low-voltage electric agrosystem automates routine tasks in vineyards. Place it at the beginning of a passage between rows in the field and use the six-button interface to program the left and right row numbers and the number of rows (or entire field) for operation; then press the start button. The TeroAIR application on your smartphone will keep you informed in real time about the entire progress of the operation and any events that occur during the process.
Slopehelper operates without GNSS navigation (satellites), and it’s independent of weather conditions, allowing your agrocycle operations to run continuously, say the bot’s maker.
Oscar – French robotics company Osiris Agriculture have designed Oscar as a complete, season-long irrigation service. Oscar will stay in the field, surveys your irrigation needs day after day to deposit exactly the dose of water the plant needs. Osiris claims the bot gathers Its knowledge of the plot thanks to artificial intelligence and modulates its action according to local needs.
Crover Grain Storage Management – The Crover robot swims through bulk solids and powders such as cereal grains and pulses stored in sheds and warehouses. This maps the condition of the grain with a higher resolution and data points density than a static solutions, says its makers, and at a lower cost per measurement location compared to sites with 20+ static sensors.
Crover stirs the grain bulk, helping prevent and break crust, arching and ratholing. Collecting samples at depth within the bulk, the data collected by the Crover robot can be either downloaded locally, fed into existing digital systems, or visualised via its companion web app. Claimed to be the first device in the world able to move omni-directionally in granular bulks, the Crover robot is also a platform that enables different technologies, be it sensors, sampling modules or pest control agents to reach areas of the bulk that they couldn’t otherwise.
Alpha – Those for whom the now ubiquitous drone simply doesn’t cut it will be drawn to Alpha’s newest fuel-powered helicopter UAV. Built STANAG-compliant to target maritime security requirements, it boasts a longer flight time – up to four hours endurance – a 4kg payload capacity and four Payload Bays.
Traxx – Exxact Robotics calls Traxx a pragmatic and sustainable technical solution for farmers and winegrowers. Traxx straddle the vine for autonomous tillage and spraying applications in narrow vineyards. A powerful unit, it treads lightly for minimal soil compaction, and achieves the spray quality and precision to accurately apply biocontrol products. Traxx puts the same precision and regularity into its soil work, says Exxact, with recognized and reliable tools.
SoftiRover – Softivert is developing the SoftiRover e-K18 agricultural robot, intended for large-scale cultivation. This French company, specialising in precision agriculture, launched the autonomous project two years ago internally, with its own funds.
YV01 – Designed for European winemakers, Yanmar has developed the YV01 as an autonomous sprayer. The YV01 treads lightly, keeping compaction to a minimum while the robot can go up and down slopes of up to 45%, while its straddle design suits narrow vine spacing.
At the heart of the YV01 is electrostatic spray technology claimed to reach all surfaces of the vine efficiently and economically with spray applications, whether exposed or hidden.
Pats-X – This bat-like drone moves through glasshouses and indoor units, targets moths and terminates them mid-flight. This prevents damage to crops and reduces the need for spraying rounds. This automated solution will be available for all kinds of greenhouse crops such as high-wire vegetables, fruits, flowers, and plants.
Orio – This is Naïo Technologies’ high-precision weeding robot. Orio will work in your fields with accuracy thanks to its guidance system based on RTK GPS signal. Designed for row crops and beds of vegetables, the bot works on lettuce, onions, carrots, parsnips, cabbage, leeks, cauliflower, various herbs (garlic, cilandro, mint, etc) among others. Orio is also suitable for arable crops, large growers and contractors, looking for greater autonomy and precision, says Naïo. Easy to set up, this tool-carrier can be used for seeding, cultivating, weeding and collecting data.
Jo – Naïo Technologies designed this autonomous crawler for narrow vines. Jo has 10 years’ experience in guidance systems and follows its lines with accuracy and reliability, says Naïo. Fully electric, two 3000W, 48V motors allow you to use a range of tools.
Ted – Again from Naïo Technologies, Ted is Jo’s larger brother, dedicated to vineyards, and offers an alternative to the use of herbicides. Ted provides precise mechanical weeding, with an 8-hours per day autonomy. Its universal mounting frame offers the possibility to adapt various tools.
Oz – Completing Naïo Technologies’ family is its compact Oz robot. This farming assistant for time-consuming and arduous tasks has caught on in 48 countries where Oz can already be found. It works autonomously or obediently follows you around. A multifunctional robot it carries brushes, seeders, hoes, ridger, leaf bumper or Torsion springs.
Pathfinder – with Pathfinder, maker Bluewhite has combined hardware and software into what it calls a single end-to-end platform for fleet and data management. This allows you to run all farm operations autonomously from anywhere. The spray, disc, mow, and other operations work with any existing tractor. Pathfinder’s smart implement integration and control will operate all year round and takes account of any condition for any crop to operate safely. It does this through Lidar as well as cameras and different sensors that guide its navigation. You can also retain the ability to drive the tractor manually when needed.