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Agricultural robots - the final fronteer

Rather than dream of perpetual wage slaving and crying things like "France's 35 hour week is still a bad idea" bwoo hwoo! We should in stead wake up to the industrial revolution. It started in 1800 and replaced physical labortarding in the early 1900.

Hallstadt, 18.11.2003

This means we need to move-on to an education based society where people learn how productive things work rather than advertisement schemes and our primordial focus is focused on automation rather than sales statistics.

Here are some interesting developments in the agricultural field of our actual economy. You know? The economy of making consumer goods rather than talking the talk and Walking the walk? You know?

The Wageningen Field Robot Event shows a vision of the future of modern precision agriculture. Right now, a small revolution is taking place. A new breed of robots will soon be able to carry out a variety of tasks in row crops, such as weeding, spraying and disease monitoring. Agricultural robots working in a field, completely autonomous: the Field Robot Event proves this is possible!
Wageningen University is inviting university and school teams to enter our annual international open-air field robot contest: the only open-air agricultural field robot contest in the world.

FieldRobotEvent 2008, Agricultural engineering has become a high-tech field with highest worldwide relevance with respect to food, energy as well as landscape conservation. There is a strong need for innovations and new ideas to create solutions with ecological, economical and social relevance. The future applications of autonomous small size robots and robot swarms in agriculture will be a revolution in this field. However, whenever technology meets nature, considerable technical and non-technical challenges have to be solved. The International Field Robot Event, founded by Wageningen University (The Netherlands) in 2003, has stimulated the development of autonomous field robots and has become a major platform for innovations, interdisciplinary cooperation and information exchange. The Field Robot Event 2008 included the contest itself, the Field Robot Junior with about 30 school teams, a high-tech agricultural exhibition, the award ceremony "Germany - Land of Ideas: Selected Landmark", a scientific symposium and much more !

Field Robot Movies

The FutureFarm Project is a European project funded by the EU as part of the Seventh Research Framework Programme. The official project start date was 1st January 2008, and the project duration is 3 years.
The full project title is "Meeting the challenges of the farm of tomorrow by integrating Farm Management Information Systems to support real-time management decisions and compliance to standards", and the funding is under the Cooperation programme of the FP7 in the Food, Agriculture, Fisheries and Biotechnologies (Knowledge Based Bio-Economy) theme

The CLAAS Foundation- Education and knowledge for tomorrow's farming
The Foundation wishes to make a contribution to education and knowledge in agriculture. The different activities are intended to show the grand possibilities and perspectives modern agricultural engineering has to offer - we are especially looking at the young potentials, but also the general public.
In May 1998 the Regional Office in Detmold presented the official Deed of Foundation to the CLAAS Foundation. The CLAAS Foundation is the first in the region of Western Westphalia-Lippe with a focus on promoting young people in the area of agriultural engineering.

Field Robot Event 2008 - Field robots competing
The international Field Robot Event, formerly brought into being by the Dutch University of Wageningen, this year took place in Osnabrück. The CLAAS Foundation has been supporting this field robot competition since its very beginning and continues in 2008. The young tinkers from all over the world let their mini agricultural machines run the race.
The robots which the participants had constructed in long working hours had to fulfil a number of tricky tasks. One of the tasks was to independently detect weed (symbolised by golf balls) hiding in between the plants. In other disciplines the robots were confronted with extremely difficult conditions: uneven and soggy soil, curved plant rows and furthermore gaps in between that had to be detected.
The Finish team "4M" had the highest score and was over the moon about their victory. The team of the TU Braunschweig and their robot "Helios" came in second, followed by the Dutch team "WURking" of the university of Wageningen on third place. Also the very young fans interested in technical features could demonstrate robotic skills. In the new Field Robot Junior Competition the school kids presented their creative robotic constructions. Next year the first junior researchers of the planned Student research centre (Schülerforschungszentrum) Osnabrück are also going to participate with their autonomous field robots.,lang=en_UK.html

De Nederlandse Vereniging Techniek in de Landbouw (dutch)

Field Robot Event (2003-) is the only open-air agricultural field robot contest in the world. The competition was first organized three times in Wageningen University in Netherlands. In 2006 the Event was held in Hohenheim University, Stuttgart, Germany. The contest allows unlimited creativity: no restrictions apply to the robot design and construction. The robots usually compete in a corn field where the robots have to navigate between corn rows, make turnings, do measurement and do actions in several tasks. Most of the robots are built by university students.
The first Finnish team was collected in autumn 2004 from students at TKK, Automation Technology and University of Helsinki, Agrotechnology. They worked for the whole semester and attended the competition in June 2005. With the similar concept, the Finnish team has now attended four times to the Field Robot Event and the fifth time will be in July 2009 in Netherlands. Year 2008 was the most successful, Mean Maize Maze Machine was a winning team in all tasks and in overall competition.

HortiBot - A Plant Nursing Robot
The vision is the Spider mounted with the HortiBot accessory kit, which transforms it into a tool carrier for high-tech plant nursing for e.g. organic grown vegetables. High-tech tools for weeding that at a later stage can be implemented are tools like laser, micro spraying and mechanical devices.

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