Robotic Rock Picker Gains National Attention
The Association of Equipment Manufacturers awarded one of three Davidson Prizes to TerraClear during the 2023 Commodity Classic. Trevor Thompson, president of TerraClear, says their innovation involves picking rock, a “very old problem in agriculture” without a modern solution.
Thompson… “That combination thing is really where we started. And it started with being in the field dealing with rocks in a way that was quite old school, which was picking them up by hand and kind of looking around. So much in agriculture and industry has been automated, and this thing has been left behind, and it's a problem that affects far more farmers than, I think, people understand. And so, that combined with the technologies emerging today, I think, happened to fit quite nicely with the solution that we can provide. And that's really where it all started.”
The automated rock picker attaches to farm equipment, picks the rocks up, and dumps them into a bucket.
Thompson… “Most people who've ever picked a rock up really understand it kind of deeply physically. And so, the ability to combine a lot of the exciting technology we're doing with computer vision and the mapping and these other potentials with a really practical problem, I think, is part of that. The ability to just grab the rock gives you a much wider window when you can solve the problem. and so, that versatility element is one thing that, I think, farmers get really excited about. Rock pitchers have been around for a long time, but often they're very disruptive to the soil or they only work on a clean field. And so, when you say well, you can really pick in any condition, that's really enticing for a lot of farmers.”
TerraClear’s Rock Map captures high resolution images of farm fields and maps out the location and size of each rock in the field.