Australian researchers are building a robotic tractor and seeding machine that could free up 20% of farmland by planting seeds more effectively.
The machine, built by UNSW Associate Professor Jay Katupitiya and the Grains Research and Development Corporaion, lays seeds within 1 to 2 cm of accuracy, which Katupitiya says is unprecedented for a driverless machine.
The three-metre-wide tractor uses advanced control systems and sensors to automatically correct for deviations in the soil.
Because it is smaller than existing manned tractors, it doesn’t create crop lines, which typically render about a fifth of large paddocks unusable, Katupitiya says.
The same machine can also be used for weeding, fertilising and growth monitoring.
Inventors are now working towards commercial production.
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