Photo from L-R (Rebecca Lewis, David Rose, Marc Jones, Eliot Dixon) outside the Southern Crop Technology Hub.
Agri-EPI hosted a Special interest group focussed on agricultural robotics and automation technologies at their Cranfield Innovation Hub on Tuesday, 18th January. The event brought together farmers, technology developers and academics to discuss the development of robotics and automation solutions for agriculture.
The session was led by Eliot Dixon, Head of Engineering at Agri-EPI, with panel guests Professor David Rose, Professor of Sustainable Agricultural Systems at Cranfield Environment Centre, Marc Jones, Business Director at Antobot, and Agri-EPI innovation farmer Niall Jeffrey of Bielgrange Farm.
Rebecca Lewis, New Business and Proposals Manager at Agri-EPI, also provided an update on funding opportunities linked to robotics such as ‘Farming Futures: automation and robotics, industrial research‘ from the Farming Futures R&D fund.
The special interest group was held as part of the centre’s farm research and development offering which includes a network of commercial farms for trialling and validating technology, and a farmer membership aimed at knowledge exchange, the ‘Farm Tech Circle’
“The farmer input is vital when it comes to talking about developing technology, we need to hear from them about how the tech could impact their business and fit in to their current systems and what their needs are.”
Key discussion points from the session included:
- Farm infrastructure challenges – particularly around terrain, digital capacity, energy, storage and data.
- Labour employment and tech development – health and safety, regulation, skills, knowledge, de-skilling, re-skilling, new skills.
- Performance and technology readiness (repair, reliability, relevance, regulations).
The session lasted over two hours with break-out sessions followed by a networking lunch. From this session we aim to start building consortia for robotics and automation solutions for agriculture. If you are interested in finding out more from this session get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Useful resources for agri robotics and automation development:
- Enhancing the safety and security of autonomous agricultural vehicles
- Farm Network
- Technical robotics asset
- Robotics and automation solution offering
- Funding opportunities
- Agri-tech Investment Advisory
Agri-EPI is a partner of choice for agri-tech developers (from start-ups through to established companies). Our aim is to help develop profitable and productive solutions to empower more sustainable farms.