Agri-tech company Agribot AI has won the Agri-EPI and Hands Free Farm (HFF) hackathon tackling safety and security concerns around autonomous agricultural vehicles.
A hackathon funded by Smart Agri-Hubs, Agri-EPI Centre in collaboration with Hands Free Farm tasked participants to “hack” a safety solution for unmanned machinery. The teams which took part came from a range of disciplines, such as robotics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, Internet of Things, drones and computer vision.
Agribot’s winning concept brought together cutting-edge AI and vision technology to provide a cost-effective, anonymised human and animal detection system that could work with notoriously patchy rural connectivity. The company is now in conversation with the Hands Free Farm team on developing and implementing their technology on the HFF site.
Agri-EPI Chief Executive Dave Ross said: “The quality of ideas and solutions from the teams that took part in the hackathon has blown away everyone at Agri-EPI, the team at Hands Free Farm and our judges – Clive Blacker, Kit Franklin, Andy Newbold and Sarah Walton. We were particularly impressed with Agribot AI’s proposal which has very real potential, and we are excited to see how it develops at Hands Free Farm.”
Autonomous vehicles offer arable farmers a wide range of benefits, such as better utilisation of farm staff and increased precision and reduced inputs, all of which combine to improve farm economics.
However, to ensure the implementation of agri-tech can keep pace with the rate of innovation, the safety, security and reliability of new technologies must be guaranteed.
The lack of formal safety regulations, codes of practice and other legislation pose a potential barrier to the widespread use of cutting-edge agri-tech, hindering the progress of the entire agri-food sector.
“The diverse nature of agriculture and robotics operating in off-road and on-road environments poses many challenges. Our aim with the hackathon was to bring great ideas from any background into agriculture that have the potential to support robotic safety. We have been delighted and inspired by the solutions put forward.”