The new project, which is part of the X Alphabet company, was named Mineral. Google’s parent company aims to create technologies that are changing the world. The latest is a robot controlling crops in the fields.
“Growers can remove and treat individual plants instead of entire fields, which reduces their costs and environmental impact,” the company said.
The robots ride on wheels and record what is happening in the field. The company has introduced them in several sizes, so they can adapt to different fields. Server BBC he said that thanks to vertical columns, robots can swim over plants without damaging them.
The developers also thought about making robots low-emission and minimizing their impact on the environment. Therefore, they are powered by energy from the sun, which they draw thanks to solar panels located on the roof.
What plants really need
Project leader Mineral Elliot Grant said: “We hope that better tools will enable the agricultural industry to change the way food is grown.” His team says the main goal is to spread the growing need for food around the world and the sustainability of food growing.
According to the development team, current agricultural machines do not provide growers with the information they need. “What if every single plant could be monitored and get exactly the nutrition it needs?” Grant writes.
While farmers now have information on soil content or weather, the robot has been designed to see how plants actually grow and how they respond to the environment.
“Over the past few years, a robot controlling plants has driven through strawberry fields in California and soybean fields in Illinois, collecting high-quality images of each plant, counting and classifying every berry and every bean,” the company said.
The robotic truck is thus literally a crop counter. It can also record information on plant height, leaf area and fruit size. All the data collected is connected to a system that tries to reveal patterns and observations useful to farmers.
The company said it was working with breeders and farmers from Argentina, Canada, South Africa and the United States, but so far there is no plan to put the robot on the market.