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Prospero, Robotic Farmer

Prospero is a robotic farmer prototype presented by vanmunch in response to a robot challenge at Schmart Board.

As you can see in the picture below, Prospero is a hexapod robot; the intent is to take agricultural machinery (and agbots) in a different direction. Rather than use huge machines and crops measured by thousands of acres, why not try using smart robots to do farming on a plant-by-plant basis?


(Prospero, Robotic Farmer)

Prospero is an autonomous hexapod that can instantly change directions without turning its body, avoid objects, detect seeds (that it or another robot has planted), plant seeds at a specified spacing, mark/apply a pre-emergent herbicide &/or fertilizer and let other Prospero robots in the area know if it needs help planting seeds in its area or if the area has been planted. It's meant to be deployed as part of a larger group/ swarm and its behavior uses swarm and game theory...

...what if we were able to make farming decisions on a foot by foot or plant by plant basis? This would dramatically increase the productivity of the land, but you would also dramatically increase the number of people and the cost of business. This is a problem if you used people, but what about a swarm of simple, inexpensive robots?


(Prospero, Robotic Farmer video)

Philip K. Dick has a fairly early reference for the idea of farm robots in his 1955 story War Veteran; he mentions a robot gardener.

Update Feb-28-2015: I found an earlier and more complete reference; see the article for robot farmer from The Turning Wheel by Philip K. Dick (19540. End update.

From vanmunch via Engadget.

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