Farmer-Owned Company Wants to Automate Farm Operations
Automation has been a big focus for the agtech industry, not just in the U.S. but globally. Andrew Bate is a farmer in Australia who launched SWARM Farm Robotics to commercialize his customizable autonomous tractors.
Bate… “We've already had the precision ag revolution with big data, machine learning, and I guess crop analytics to give us more insight on what we do but very little was being done to actually change the techniques and the farming methods out at the paddocks we use to grow crops. So that's sort where SWARMFarm came from. In terms of problems we solve, we're very much a pathway for autonomy to be delivered into agriculture. And there's a lot of, I guess, robots in development that specialize in particular crops or for a particular function, but our robots integrate with third party attachments. So that one of our robots on their own does nothing. You've got to have a third-party attachment on board. And our robots are used across all crops and industries. Not just grain, but into cotton, horticulture, orchards, turf farms, different industries.”
The robots are meant to be customizable to fit all sorts of traditional implements. He hopes this will lay the groundwork for future innovation.
Bate… “The low hanging fruit now is what are the technologies that can kind of shift the dial early with autonomy. First, just pure automation. And the smarter stuff sort of coming the non-chemical weed detection and that sort of technology that's still in trainers. Not quite ready for market yet.”
SWARMFarm Robotics will ship their first units to the U.S. in 2022.