HI-TECH: Harvey the
HI-TECH: Harvey the

Harvey the robotic capsicum harvester on show

PRIMARY producers are in for a real treat at Agrotrend this year.

Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers and CQUniversity are coordinating a session solely focused on robotic technology in the BFVG Agri-Hub as part of the Robots Drones and Sensors: Future Farming Masterclass event.

Robots. Our Future Farmers? starts at 9.30am today, and will feature demonstrations and presentations of Harvey the robotic capsicum harvester and a SwarmFarm robot called SwarmBot.

Harvey the robotic capsicum harvester project combines robotic vision and automation, designed to identify and robotically harvest capsicums.

The project is led by researchers and engineers from Queensland University of Technology.

Harvey has sophisticated robotic-vision algorithms, a camera-in-hand system and end- effector tool mounted at the end of a standard robotic arm.

The combination of robotic-vision techniques and crop manipulation tools enables the robot to harvest capsicums. Dr Chris McCool will be presenting on Harvey at 9.30am both today and tomorrow at Agrotrend in the BFVG Agri-Hub.

Queensland-based start-up SwarmFarm will also be at Agrotrend, demonstrating their latest robotic development called SwarmBot.

SwarmBots are a modular multi-robotic platform designed to increase efficiencies of traditional farming practices and is already commercially spraying fields in Central Queensland.

SwarmBot technology enables farmers to farm efficiently through the deployment of technology with a swarm of mobile, automated robots; it is not a driverless tractor.

"Just as horses have been completely replaced by tractors for pulling a plough, we predict that this technology creates a future for farming that is no longer underpinned by tractors,” says SwarmFarm founder and chief executive Andrew Bate.

The SwarmBot will be at Agrotrend for one day only.

Neville Crook, director and business developer at SwarmFarm, will be talking about this exciting technology at 10.30am today, at the BFVG Agri-Hub.

Robots Drones and Sensors is an initiative of BFVG and CQU, supported with funding from the Queensland Government's Engaging Science Program.

The event is a series of practical demonstrations by researchers, engineers and scientists on both days of Agrotrend.

It additionally includes exhibits in the BFVG Agri-Hub (where the masterclasses will be held) created by the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, CQUniversity, Aerobugs, VegNET, QUT and Community Lifestyle Solutions with a pop-up Maker-Space. A downloadable itinerary for the two-day Robots Drones and Sensors: Future Farming Masterclasses is available at www.bfvg.com.au.

To launch the masterclasses, VegNET industry development officer Michelle Haase is co-ordinating an industry breakfast for primary producers and industry stakeholders.

The launch includes a keynote presentation by Tim Neale, from DataFarming; Tim is an ag-tech specialist with more than 20 years of precision ag experience. He is presenting on Turning Tech Into Reality: Practical Precision Ag.

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