IFV attending the on-field demonstrations

The International Forum for Agricultural Robotics FIRA was held on February 7-8-9, 2023, in Toulouse, France.

This international yearly event is focusing on innovations in robotics for all crop types. Beyond conferences gathering people from all over the world, this year event had on-field demonstrations with cutting-edge robots. Researchers, farmers, and many other agriculture robotics stakeholders were here to discover and discuss about these new technologies.

These on-field demonstrations were an opportunity to understand the current challenges about these new tools. Among many interesting robots, we can list some of the technologies that have been presented: mechanical weeding by autonomous robots for vineyards, weed laser destruction by autonomous robots for vegetables, autonomous navigation and row-tracking system, multi-purpose robot for fruit trees… Some of them have just started to be commercially available.

Different questions have been discussed:
  • Auto-guiding can be done through different ways: GPS pre-identified rows in vineyards, computerized recognition of growing crops and weeds for vegetables, combination of radar reflector systems with sensors for row identification without GNSS (global navigation satellite systems) in orchards.
  • Different sources of energy are available: gas, battery, electricity from photovoltaic panel on robots’ roof.
  • On-site operators are often required for security, regulations, or management and functioning reasons.
  • Some robots require brand specific equipment and some other have been developed for any brand equipment.
  • These robots are not adapted to all crops, neither to all growth stages of weeds.

A wide range of effective tools has been developed to respond to various needs. Among these needs, herbicide use reduction is an important challenge that these new technologies can help solving, for example by saving time, or using different equipment.