University of Sydney’s robotics department invented a solar-powered farm robot that can detect vegetables, trace out crops and remove weeds with its robotic arms. Called Ladybird, the robot aims to increase productivity and optimize harvesting methods.
Covered by photovoltaics, this autonomous robot farmer is the product of a $1 million research project at the university. Guided by lasers and self-driven, Ladybird is currently being used to gather data about the farm it drives across, and successfully completed a recent three-day test on an Australian farm that grows spinach, onions and beetroot. It is one of the most complex farming robots out there and can perform a wide array of farming tasks-from crop health control to harvesting.
Professor Sukkarieh, one of the robot’s chief developers, says that the next step in development of the solar-powered robot is to add a manipulator arm underneath the machine which would test and spot sample the fields.