Lincoln University has been given a £6.6 million investment to open the U.K’s first agri-food robotics centre for doctoral training, helping to develop cutting edge automated technology.
In a nutshell the department is going to be at the forefront of enhancing productivity and efficiency in agriculture.
With the population set to rise to over 9 billion by 2050 farmers find themselves now under increasing pressure to meet the demand of produce.
This is why agri-food robotics is quickly becoming a very important area in the field of robotics and could very much be what is needed to manage the rising demand.
Robots are now operating more mundane tasks such as harvesting and picking to allow farmers to concentrate on other areas.
Professor Tom Duckett of robotics and autonomous systems at the University of Lincoln says that “the global food chain is under pressure from population growth, climate change, political pressures affecting migration, population drift from rural and urban regions, and the demographics of an ageing population in advanced economics.”
Professor Duckett then goes on to say that “addressing these challenges requires a new generation of highly skilled RAS (Robotics and Autonomous Systems) researchers and leaders, and our new CDT (centre for doctoral training)will be dedicated to delivering those expertise.”
Agriculture has a reputation for being out dated and stuck in the past but actually it happens to be a brilliant place to test new innovations.
For example farming was one of the first areas of industry to utilise commercial drone use and autonomous vehicles.
Utilising technology of this sort as well can help towards curbing greenhouse gas emissions as they will replace heavy machinery such as tractors.
A government report from the department for Business, energy & industrial strategy showing greenhouse gas emissions from around the country over the past 20 years show that 10% of the UK’s emissions are form agriculture and, unlike most other sectors of the country, agriculture has only reduced its emissions slightly.