It's 600 pounds of orange and black metal and whirring motors, a massive robotic arm that picks up car parts and places them on a table. Like its ancestors have done for decades, this industrial robot does the heavy lifting that no human worker could manage, and it does so with extreme speed and precision. Unlike its forebears, though, this industrial robot isn't confined to a cage: Most factory robots work in enforced solitude to make sure their human colleagues stay safe. This machine is working right alongside a human laborer. The robot places a part on the table, and the worker tightens bits with a wrench.
Robots and drones have already started to quietly transform many aspects of agriculture. And now a new report is predicting the agricultural robotics industry, now serving a 3 billion market, will grow to 10 billion by 2022. The report, by IDTechEx Research in Britain, is called Agricultural Robots and Drones 2016-2026: Technologies, Markets, and Players. It analyses how robotic market and technology developments will change agriculture, enabling ultra-precision farming and helping address key global challenges. It describes how robotic technology will enter into different aspects of agriculture, how it will change the way farming is done and transform its value chain, how it becomes the future of agrochemicals business and modifies the way we design agricultural machinery.
Robots! Whether you love them or fear them, you can't deny they are pretty useful. One such robot is the autonomous weeder by Carbon Robotics. According to its website page, the robot " leverages robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), and laser technology to safely and effectively drive through crop fields to identify, target and eliminate weeds." "Unlike other weeding technologies, the robots utilize high-power lasers to eradicate weeds through thermal energy, without disturbing the soil. The automated robots allow farmers to use fewer herbicides and reduce labor to remove unwanted plants while improving the reliability and predictability of costs, crop yield, and more."
The matter of growing enough food to feed the planet is a serious issue. Already, one in nine people lack sufficient sustenance, according to the United Nations--and the problem is only going to get worse. Mix a global population projected to reach 9 billion in 20 years, from 7.5 billion today, with drought and other effects of climate change, and a farm labor shortage in places like California, and there's a crisis in the making. Now a growing number of researchers and are turning to robotics to address the problem. Specifically, they're combining the sensing abilities of robots with data analysis made possible by artificial intelligence technology to improve farmers' ability to grow and manage their crops more intelligently.
Technology executives at the 90-year-old insurer say artificial intelligence and automation will become increasingly important in the way claims are resolved in the future, making the process quicker for customers and taking out much of the routine, mundane work for its more than 10,000 claims employees. Leveraging those technologies is part of a vision that Chief Executive Jeffrey Dailey also supports, said Rehan Ashroff, director of innovation lab and new ventures at Farmers. "We've been lucky that we're not fighting an uphill battle here. Leadership is extremely supportive," said Mr. Ashroff. "Automation is key for many industries like ours because of the efficiency you can gain from leveraging (it) in a smart, tactical manner."