For centuries, farmers have relied primarily on their wits and work ethic to get the job done. While they’ve had help from tractors, transplantors and sprayers, the next generation of agriculture robotics and automation will put them in control like never before. One of the companies at the forefront of this new technological revolution is ecoRobotix.
The company is continually developing and testing new machines that will make tedious farming tasks a little bit easier. ecoRobotix’s AVO weeding robot, for example, is designed to autonomously deliver targeted product applications to a variety of plant cultures. It runs on solar energy and a battery.
After a year of testing the AVO robot in pilot projects in countries around the world, ecoRobotix was able to validate the machine’s accuracy. The spraying footprint is 3x8 cm on the ground, which allows ARA to deliver products with increased accuracy.
“Our ultra-high precision spraying technology is ready,” says ecoRobotix communication officer, Isabelle Aeschlimann. “To respond to strong market demand, we have adapted it to a mounted sprayer.”
The mounted sprayer is a welcome helper. Not only does it allow farmers to reduce their reliance on migrant labor, ARA empowers them to get the job done without worrying about human error.
“ARA is an ultra-high precision sprayer that is mounted behind a tractor,” she continues. “Our technology can detect the weeds and the culture, so it can spray only the weeds or only the culture.”
ARA uses cutting-edge artificial intelligence to apply products in plane fields and row crops. It can be directed to selectively spray weeds with a micro-dose of herbicides or deliver targeted sprays of insecticides, fungicides or fertilizers. ARA can reduce the spray volume of products by up to 95 percent! which represents an enormous saving for the farmer.
The results are high crop yields despite a minimal spray volume. Growers save time, money and labor to maximize profits, all while minimizing their environmental footprint. ARA has a 600-liter tank and can mix up to four pure chemicals at once.
“With the tractor, ARA can also move very quickly,” Aeschlimann says. “You can treat up to 96 hectares per day because the machine can also work at night.”
In many ways, ARA works like any other sprayer, albeit with higher accuracy and without product waste. The difference is the data analysis. Growers can monitor and communicate with ARA via their tablet using a specialized ecoRobotix app. The user data is stored on a cloud platform and can be viewed, analyzed and downloaded as needed.
ARA can be used throughout the year on a variety of different crops, from perennials in March and April to rapeseed in September and October.