UK Robotics Week 2018 launches Agri-Tech whitepaper

As part of last week’s UK’s Robotics Week 2018, a new whitepaper is now available on Agri-Tech. The whitepaper provides an overview of the current impact and challenges facing Agri-Tech and discusses in-depth the use of robotics in this vital sector. Agri-EPI Centre contributed to its creation.

Summary outline

The ‘Agricultural Robotics: The Future of Robotic Agriculture’ whitepaper provides an overview of the current impact and challenges facing Agri-Tech, as well as associated ethical considerations. The in-depth report spans the current trends and technological advances, as well as potential barriers to overcome in achieving the sector’s full potential. The whitepaper includes clear recommendations for some of the challenges identified, and a basis for discussing the future technological roadmaps, and engaging the wider community, stakeholders and policy makers in assessing the potential social, economic, ethical and legal impact of RAS in agriculture.

Commenting on the launch, report author Professor Bruce Grieve of University of Manchester said:

“The recent commitment of a £90 million investment by the government really underlines the fact that Agri-Tech is a burgeoning market, so this whitepaper is a timely and important exploration of the use of robotics in this vital sector, which employs almost 4 million people and is larger than the automotive and aerospace sectors combined.

Agri-Tech companies are already working closely with UK farmers, using robotics and AI to help create new technologies and bring forward new innovations, so this is a truly exciting time for the industry as we look to transform the challenges facing global agriculture into opportunities for innovation, investment and commercial growth.”

Logo UK-RAS NetworkMore information

For more information about this and other whitepapers covering key areas of robotics and autonomous systems UK-RAS is preparing, visit the UK-RAS Network website.

About UK Robotics Week 2018

Logo Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)The UK Robotics Week initiative is jointly spearheaded by founding supporters, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), The Royal Academy of Engineering, the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) and the UK-RAS Special Interest Group, and is being coordinated by the EPSRC UK-RAS network.

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Bringing together members and agri-tech industry partners

Acting as an industry-focussed innovation network is Agri-EPI’s core business. The more connected we can make the agri-tech sector, the better. Last week, Agri-EPI Centre welcomed more than 60 members to Cranfield, the base of one of our hubs in Bedfordshire. Companies present, covered the wider agri-food industry and included all key players in the supply chain. The annual Stakeholder Day is mainly organised to bring together the full breadth of the membership, including leading academic partners, agri-food industry partners and technology providers. Members get a chance to get personally acquainted with other organisations and build new collaborations.

Professor Leon Terry, Director of Environment and Agrifood at Cranfield University, opened the event in the morning. He gave an overview of Agri-EPI’s Remote Sensing and Precision Agriculture technology located at Cranfield University. Chief Executive Officer Dave Ross provided an update on the developments within the organisation over the last year, the international links that are built to support our members and the expected opportunities in the near future.

The Knowledge Transfer Network and Innovate UK presented key upcoming grant funding opportunities, in both UK and Europe. United Kingdom Research and Innovation (UKRI), and particularly the forthcoming £90m funding via the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund call titled “Transforming Food Production” is highly relevant funding for Agri-EPI members, as became clear on the day. Agri-EPI can help members with applications by helping members understand what funding is available, getting project ideas on paper, connecting relevant partners and making Agri-EPI facilities and equipment available (both research and business).

It was a high-paced event, with lots of short presentations covering various topics. New this year was the member pitch programme. It offered 12 members to pitch their organisation to the audience. Presentations were short but inspiring nonetheless, given the network activity during lunch break afterwards. The day was concluded with a tour around the exciting new facilities on campus.

Showing on-site facilities to members

The location for this year’s Stakeholder Day was chosen for a specific reason. Agri-EPI Centre are owner of some state-of-the-art agricultural technologies and facilities on-site, which they share with agri-tech partner CHAP and Cranfield University. Industry partners can make use of on-site technologies and can sign up for this for future projects.

Membership engagement

Getting introduced to new organisations is key to successful development and adoption of new technologies within the world of agri-tech. “This day facilitates just that”, says Agri-EPI Marketing Manager Yoni van Breukelen:

“It is a significant time for agriculture. The need for new technology solutions is not only growing, organisations not traditionally involved in agri-food are more than ever realising the potential to get involved. The sooner our members get introduced to other relevant organisations to further their products and services, the better.”

More information and how you can get involved

Would you like access to researchers in academic partners? Are you interested in facilities and equipment – at University hubs and commercial farms? Looking for ways to expand your network of industry partners? Need help in establishing new projects? Contact Agri-EPI Centre via for more information and join our member network.

Event impression

 Stay informed

Keep up to date with the latest impact and results of our work, plus, news, innovation and approaches across the sector. Read our latest news and Agri-EPI blogs.