Autonomous Robots Make Plant Breeding Predictive
Autonomous robots TerraSentia help Illinois farmers to watch over the corn fields, reported The New York Times in February 13.
TerraSentia is tasked to measure plains characteristics called phenotypes, like the height of the plant, so later agriculture engineers can breed better crops, explained Dr. Girish Chowdhary, an agricultural engineer at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign:
“The idea is that robots can automate the phenotyping process and make these measurements more reliable. In doing so, the TerraSentia and others like it can help optimize the yield of farms far beyond what humans alone have been able to accomplish”
Earlier agronomists had to collect this data manually, that took significant time and efforts. Now this data can be collected automatically, and at much greater scale, since TerraSentia can portray a whole field with its sensors.
Essentially, robots like TerraSentia can change breeding from a reactionary process into a more predictive one, since “we can identify the best-yielding plants before they even shed pollen”, shared plant biologist at Cornell University Mike Core.
Robot size also comes in hand: it is one of the smallest farmbots only 12.5 inches wide. Now Dr. Chowdhary is working on adding more plant characteristics for the autonomous robot to measure.
Robotics become more and more common in agriculture industry. Fore example, as Future Time previously reported, Argentina farmers use artificial Intelligence and drones for early pest detection and livestock diseases.
Photo credit: The New York Times