• • • Cropping robots move closer to reality
Central Queensland-based agricultural technology pioneer, SwarmFarm Robotics, is poised to start commercial production of its SwarmBot mini driverless tractors. The first commercial-scale prototype is about to be built in Victoria with help from development partner and driverless car technology leader, Bosch. The first of 50 commercial units are expected for release to farmers from mid-year on a managed lease basis for a monthly fee likely to be about $6000.
The SwarmFarm technology aims to lift farming system productivity by using the small, high-tech robotic gear in fleets, or swarms, for key broadacre and horticultural cropping system tasks, including planting, weed and pest control, fertiliser application and harvesting. SwarmFarm director and co-founder, Jocie Bate, said the SwarmBot robots, mounted with eight-metre spray booms, had achieved a level of consistency and cost efficiency unattainable using traditional farming methods on the family’s farm.