Autonomy in Agriculture Will Take Time
Decreasing labor costs in the produce industry is a top priority, and autonomous innovation is showing more and more promise. Teric Greenan, COO of the autonomous weedinger company, Nexus Robotics, believes the transition from humans to robots will be a slow but steady change.
Greenan… “The simpler a task is, the quicker it’ll be automated and also the less enjoyable a task is, also the quicker it’ll be automated. Also one of the things I’ve realized talking with farmers is that the field workers don’t want to be out in the field pulling weeds. They all want to be in the packhouse where its air-conditioned and so getting workers to do those kinds of tasks is not the easiest. You know, if you don’t enjoy doing a job, you’re either going to want to get paid more for it or you’re going to do something else. It’ll take time though. Each task to automate, you know, it requires years of development so I don’t think that overnight, farms are just going to be swarming with robots. I think that it’s going to be a slow progression and there’s going to be more and more technologies that are implemented over time and then eventually, maybe in 50 years or something like that, most of the tasks are going to be done by robots or something like that, but I don’t expect there to be drastic changes over the next five years for example.”
Nexus Robotics was a part of the Fresh Field Catalyst, a six-month program through the International Fresh Produce Association, for global companies to bring innovative technical solutions to the produce industry.