BT has unveiled a new robotics platform and management system to automate the agricultural industry and drive sustainability and operational efficiencies in the process.
The project comes as part of the Robot Highways initiative; established to develop novel ways of automating the soft fruit farming industry in ways that will cut costs and labour while promoting robotic and autonomous solutions.
BT’s offering features environmentally friendly and sustainable robotic solutions, powered exclusively by renewable energy sources. They are designed to take on more labour-intensive roles such as picking and packing fruit, as well as monitoring and treating crops for any disease.
The company’s solution also features sensor technology to monitor crop health and forecast potential issues, helping farmers to intervene before a problem arises, and avoid food waste and unnecessary labour further down the line.
BT has developed and tested the edge and cloud architecture to deliver the infrastructure these IoT services will harness.
“We’re delighted to be part of the Robot Highways project to demonstrate how BT can help the agricultural sector to automate by integrating robotics and other solutions on a single platform,” said John Davies, chief researcher at BT. “As a leader in network-based platforms and edge infrastructure, we are ideally placed to support advanced robotic farming operations.”
The Robot Highways project was established in 2020 and is led by Norwegian R&D group Saga Robotics, alongside partners BT, the University of Lincoln, Berry Gardens Growers, Clock House Farm, the University of Reading and the Manufacturing Technology Centre. A joint initiative, the scheme incorporates scientists, engineers and technical experts to promote smart tech to drive sustainability and optimize production throughout industries.
Anne Dingstad, CEO of Saga Robotics said BT is well-placed to bring operational connectivity to the project, highlighting the key role of connectivity in advancing automation and precision agriculture to enable increased food production with fewer resources.