During the next few years, farming will change beyond all recognition, with robots replacing huge tractors. That’s the view of the Small Robot Company, a start-up in the UK that has built its first prototype robot – “Tom“.
Tom is part of a family of robots designed to operate at a more precise plan-by-plant basis, rather than the broad acre farming currently seen today, helping to minimise the effect we have on the soil.
“At the moment, we are thinking too incrementally, we need to be looking at a broader picture, stripping it back to how best to get the seed in the ground and look after it,” says Sam Watson-Jones, Small Robot co-founder and fourth-generation farmer.
Tom is the first robot, travelling over fields snapping photos at around three images a second from the Android phone mounted on the rear, although frequency can be varied depending on requirements.
He has been built at a cost of around £4,000 from parts sourced from the internet, 3D-printed parts and a chassis bought from a company in Kansas, USA.