By Sreejith Kamalanayanan
We have been talking about a distant future where robots taking over humans for a longtime. Science fiction movies from Hollywood like Robocop and the Terminator series films had talked about the ‘rise of machines’. In 2018, the distant future is no longer ‘distant’, the future that we’ve been talking about is at our doorstep, alive and kicking!
We have made immense progress in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and robots have already started making their presence felt in some professions. Farming is such a profession where robots have already started taking over. Farming is an area, which is struggling due to labour shortage and the increasing necessity to boost farm produce amid the looming food shortage.
A startup in California, US claims they have found a solution for the two issues—food crisis and labor shortage – by developing a farm entirely controlled by robots. The company named Iron Ox launched the autonomous robotic farm last month. Apart from the above-mentioned issues, the company addresses other problems that choke the agriculture industry.
The farm is operated in a greenhouse 2,000 square feet. Herbs and other green plants are grown in individual pots that are placed in eight-foot by four-foot module. A robotic arm and a mobile transports system do the work here. The robotic arm lifts and moves the module form one growing area to another.
Iron OX claims it doesn’t want to be branded a technology company. Iron Ox just likes to remain as a farm. Their primary aim is to sell agriculture produce using fewer resources. It uses the hydroponic system of farming, in which plants are grown without soil. A huge advantage of using this system is that it uses 90% less water compared to traditional farming.
The robotic farm claims that the food it can create in one acre area will be 30 times more than the food produced by conventional farms in one acre land. That’s so huge. And that’s huge enough to lure more investors to put their money in more farms like this. That virtually might mean the death of the human farmer. The days of ‘robot-farmer’ are coming.