Old Gmail Inboxes are flooded with classifieds about agtech, and to be honest, I only blame myself after putting it on the last two newsletters (damn, just doing it again, right?). As for where this whole thing started? I blame the fact that spring officially rises at 11:33 AM ET in my hemisphere. Flowers are blooming, birds are singing and we are all thinking about how we can use robots to solve it all.
There is also (possibly related fact) that the World Agricultural Technology Innovation Summit kicked off in San Francisco this week, which is at least partly responsible for the empty yards. gas like a lot of pollen. It’s not that I’m upset or anything (if I can hear it, that’s literally pollen, which now makes up almost half of my brain). In fact, if at all, it provides some interesting insights into major trends in the category.
I said early on that agrotech robotics has so far not seen the adoption rate many people expect, and it still does. But it’s not for lack of trying. The most important thing in the category right now is surveying – specifically monitoring crops for potential problems. I often cite the statistic that the average age of a farmer in the US is 57.5 years old and in Japan about a decade older. Here in the United States, age has increased for about four decades.
I mention that because farming can be incredibly hard work, and at an age when many people (at least in theory) are contemplating what retirement might look like, they will go to the fields at sunrise. Traditional surveying monopolizes many tedious hours of the day. And if not done right, it can be difficult to capture problem areas before they become actual problems.
Four of the main methods I’ve seen pop up are satellite imagery, IoT devices, drone and robotic surveillance, like this unnamed device from Growmark and Solinftec. Surveying would be an important first step in bringing robots to the farm, although a much more appealing model would combine that function with other tasks, whether that be picking fruit, weeding or plowing. Since many of these devices are effectively rented from companies, I would guess farmers will want the most for their money.
Okay, enough farm talk for this week. Let’s discuss the future of robot ubiquity for a minute. At the end of last year, I talked to CMU’s new robotics director about his new role. He ended the interview by telling me, “If you go to a factory floor or some other place, you can see a robot. Maybe you have a robot vacuum, but I want it to be at the moment when you look out the window and see a robot.”
Let’s be super literal here for a minute and discuss Skyline Robotics (not to be confused with the region’s exotic chili of the same name). As I mentioned in a recent post, I have put window washing high on my list of tasks to automate. Until I reviewed it this week, I assumed one person could make some sort of a scratch, given the relative perils of such an occupation, but the numbers I’ve seen don’t really reflect that. reflect that.
Statistically, it may not be the most dangerous job in the world, but it is probably one of the hardest, just hanging from a rig in the sky, hundreds of thousands of feet high. feet above street level. Skyline received some ink late last year, showing Ozmo system, which has two Kuka robotic arms on a hovering platform. Yesterday, it announced 6.5 million dollars in funding, bringing the total raised to $9 million.
“This successful funding round and the first Ozmo rollout show that demand for our products and services is more than just tangible and felt by investors,” said CEO Michael Brown. , but also has a great business opportunity ahead Skyline. “Our team’s beliefs are being aligned with that of the investment community.”
Speaking of hazardous jobs, as I mentioned last week, forklifts can be more dangerous. Naturally, many companies are looking to automate the process, including Ontario-based OTTO. The Canadian company this week announced the availability of a new automatic palletizing motor, the OTTO Lifter.
Meanwhile, Devin has a story about Plotlogic Raises $18 Million. The Brisbane startup uses supermicroscopic imaging to find hard-to-detect elements in soil.
CEO Andrew Job said:
We see three types of benefits: financial, environmental sustainability and safety. This operation can process more ore and less waste, which is more profitable. They can be more precise, leave more rock in place, and don’t consume the fuel and greenhouse gases that move waste. And finally, it reduces the number of hours of human contact in the mine.
This week at GTC, Nvidia continues to push the world of robotics with the launch Jetson AGX Orin. The $2,000 Developer Kit offers a sizable computational boost over its predecessor. Meanwhile, production units will arrive in Q4.
Automation is poised to revolutionize the $10 trillion construction industry in the next few years, so Rugged Robotics is pushing to become more automatic. The company has announced that it is pushing to make its field printers fully autonomous so that they can be used 24/7. The system prints the building’s layout on the premises to give workers an accurate idea of the building location.
This week, the company raised $9.4 million, followed by $2.5 million in 2019. “We set our sights on modernizing the construction industry and building solutions. practical solutions to the challenges contractors grapple with every day,” said CEO Derrick Morse. “We believe layout is the ideal starting point. Layout is the engine behind the construction automation process. It sits at the intersection of the digital and physical worlds, solving a big problem and opening up the possibility of implementing robotics into job sites in a very meaningful way. ”
Oh, and hey, before I leave you for the week, Happy 10th birthday to Open Robotics. I’m still not sure what to get the Robot OS maintainer who has everything, so a small column space would have to do.
My birthday is coming in a few months. Why not give me the gift of subscribe to my newsletter?