Robot farmers are the future

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Horticulture is a booming business. One might think that the farming industry is dying, but horticulture says its not. The number one product of horticulture are shrubs. These are small to medium-sized woody plants grown in greenhouses and nurseries. These facilities take up a lot of land and needs a big working force, which is shrinking in number.

Canadian horticulturists hire people from Mexico to do menial labor for the greenhouses. This poses a lot of additional expenses such as processing of working visas, and providing housing for the workers. A group named Advanced Intelligent Systems (AIS) is on the way to provide solutions for these concerns, not just for Canadian horticulturists, but for the industry as a whole.

AIS gave birth to BIGTOP, an autonomous robot designed for horticulture. BIGTOP carries and moves several shrubs at the same time. It also tracks inventory and examines a plant’s health. Being connected to the cloud, BIGTOP can directly send a picture of a sick plant to a nursery worker. Instructions from the expert would be given to the robot to perform to the plant. There are also other robots that do other tasks, depending on what the nursery operator needs.

The likes of BIGTOP can perform more efficiently than a human being, at a lower cost. Using robots also avoid accidents and lessen plant stress. The capital on these robots might be high at first but is actually more economical than hiring laborers.

The creators of BIGTOP are also developing robots not just for horticulture but also for mining, warehousing, surveillance, and even filmmaking.

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