The uptake of agricultural robots is expected to remain relatively low until several key issues are resolved, a new report has found.
UK technology research and consultancy firm IDTechEx pointed to the lack of technical robustness, high upfront costs, and complicated technologies as barriers to adoption in the agricultural sector.
In its report, Agricultural Robots and Drones 2022-2032: Technologies, Markets and Players, IDTechEx noted efforts were being made to resolve these issues.
However, there had been some success stories - like milking robots, agricultural drones and automated weed robots - which had reached commercialisation thanks to their relatively simple technologies and short payback time.
High efficiencies and the low operating costs these technologies provide are expected to help the agricultural industry overcome issues like labour shortages, input costs and supply chain disruptions.
The geopolitical landscape as a result of the Russia-Ukraine war, which has reportedly taken 13 per cent of the world's calories out of production, was another reason to fast-track the use of these technologies.
IDTechEx believes autonomous tractors and carriers will be another major driver in years to come.
Tackling difficult terrain and limited access to infrastructure are some of the challenges manufacturers face when it comes to implementing autonomous driving technologies on agricultural machines.
But improvements in technologies such as sensory systems and artificial intelligence are tipped to soon resolve these issues.
According to the company, the agricultural robot industry will go through a rapid growth phase over the next decade.
This growth has also been pointed to by data and analytics company GlobalData.
It reports top agtech companies are using technologies like big data, robotics, drones, and artificial intelligence for faster planting, crop growth in any environment, and better harvesting.
GlobalData practice head Kiran Raj said automation in agriculture eliminates the need for manual labor using hardware and software platforms to increase the overall food production and minimize quality loss.
"Innovative areas in agriculture such as digital phenotyping, genomics, molecular techniques, and smart greenhouses are gaining momentum," he said.
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