Small Robot Company, a British agritech start-up for sustainable farming, featured in the Spring Reception for the All-Party Parliamentary Group on the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) earlier this week.
Using robotics and artificial intelligence, the company has created an entirely new model for ecologically harmonious farming.
The Spring Reception celebrated new possibilities for improving the efficiency and sustainability of agriculture, and championed some of the Agritech companies that will make it possible.
The guest of honour was Liz Truss, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury and previous Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. She delivered a keynote address on the Government’s support for agritech and opportunities for technology to transform the UK agricultural sector, help British farmers compete in global markets, and boost food security in the UK and abroad.
Small Robot Company harnesses the power and precision of robots and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to improve the way that food is produced and minimise chemical usage. It will make farms more profitable, and increase yield and efficiency, through using small robots instead of tractors. Its farmbots Tom Dick and Harry will plant, feed and weed arable crops autonomously, with minimal waste.
This will cut chemicals by up to 95%. Its no-till robotics also prevent soil erosion and run off, reducing cultivation emissions by up to 90%.
Small Robot Company’s funding includes £1 million from Innovate UK, and half a million from UK farmers. Its technology is built on research from Professor Simon Blackmore at Harper Adams University.
“We’re on the cusp of a fourth agricultural revolution, taking farming into the digital age: and with British ideas and British technology at the helm,” says Ben Scott-Robinson, co-founder, Small Robot Company. “Our Tom, Dick and Harry robots will completely transform what’s possible on the farm. It will radically reduce chemical usage in arable farming, while improving soils, profits and yields. It’s the ultimate sustainable farming model.”
Small Robot Company (SRC) is working with a Farmer Advisory Group to develop its technology with farmers on farm. Field trials are currently in progress in 20 farms across the United Kingdom.
By David Manners for Electronics Weekly