Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Farming robot debuts in Fujian




Farming robot debuts in Fujian

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
PA farming robot moves in between two rows of plants in a greenhouse in Fuzhou, capital of Fujian province. LOUIS BAUDOIN/afp

Farming robot debuts in Fujian

While industrial robots have become a common sight in factories across eastern China, the country’s agriculture sector is seen by some as a place where few technologies can take root, due to the high cost and sophisticated natural environment involved in growing food.

But a research institute and a startup based in Fuzhou, capital of East China’s Fujian province, are determined to change the perception by jointly developing an agricultural robot.

The white, 5G-enabled, sensor-rich agricultural robot can move between two rows of leafy greens in a greenhouse, collect data about the plants, and feed it back to the control room.

Developed by Fujian Academy of Agricultural Sciences and Fujian Newland Era Hi-Tech Co Ltd, the robot is part of their efforts to build an autonomous running farm.

Different from industrial plants where robots can follow preset routes and do fixed jobs such as feeding standardised electronic parts, agricultural environments are far more complex, said Zhao Jian, deputy head of the digital agriculture institute of FAAS.

“Farm robots also have to adapt to a wide variety of highly differentiated crops, livestock and aquatic products,” said Zhao.

To solve the challenges, the research institute and Newland have jointly developed a more sophisticated artificial intelligence system.

Computer algorithms as well as the hardware for positioning, map construction, route design and avoiding obstacles have all been optimised to suit the agricultural environment, taking into consideration fertilisation, watering the plants, bumpy roads and other natural factors.

The robot’s head is equipped with two 5 megapixel cameras as the “eyes” and two 7 megapixel cameras as its “ears”. With sensors at the top of its head and mouth, the robot can also detect wind velocity, carbon dioxide levels, humidity, temperature and other data about the natural environment of the green house.

The farm robot has been successfully tested for compatibility with the 5G mobile communication technology, which allows the data to be analysed by computers enabled by AI in the control room more efficiently.

“Currently, the robot can inspect farms automatically and collect data samples used to power various applications. It can determine plants’ health condition and decide if pest control measures are warranted,” said Chen Li, deputy director of marketing at Newland.

According to Chen, the robot is still a prototype and on the basis of that the two sides hope to step up investments to develop versatile robots that can even pick fruit with a bionic hand in the future.

“Based on the mass agricultural data and images we have acquired, we hope to build an optimised plant growth model to achieve automatic control of the growth environment and early warning of pests and diseases,” Chen added.

China is now the world’s largest market for industrial robots. As labour costs continue rising, the demand for robots will be stronger in the nation, said Wang Tianmiao, president of the Smart Manufacturing Research Institute at Beihang University. China Daily

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Kingdom one of safest to visit in Covid-19 era’

    The Ministry of Tourism on January 12 proclaimed Cambodia as one of the safest countries to visit in light of the Kingdom having been ranked number one in the world by the Senegalese Economic Prospective Bureau for its success in handling the Covid-19 pandemic. In rankings

  • Ministry mulls ASEAN+3 travel bubble

    The Ministry of Tourism plans to launch a travel bubble allowing transit between Cambodia and 12 other regional countries in a bid to resuscitate the tourism sector amid crushing impact of the ongoing spread of Covid-19, Ministry of Tourism spokesman Top Sopheak told The Post on

  • Kingdom accepts Chinese vaccine, PM first to get jab

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said China would offer Cambodia an immediate donation of one million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine produced by the Sinopharm company. In an audio message addressing the public on the night of January 15, he said Cambodia has accepted the offer and

  • Reeling in Cambodia’s real estate sector

    A new norm sets the scene but risks continue to play out in the background A cold wind sweeps through the streets of Boeung Trabek on an early January morning as buyers and traders engage in commerce under bright blue skies. From a distance, the

  • PM asks India for vaccine help

    Prime Minister Hun Sen is seeking assistance from India for the provision of Covid-19 vaccines as the country has produced its own vaccine which is scheduled to be rolled out to more than 300 million Indians this year. The request was made during his meeting with

  • Capital set to beef up security

    Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng held the first meeting of the year with heads of armed forces in the capital to review and repair the deficiencies related to gun control, drug crimes, social order disruptions due to alcohol consumption and traffic law enforcement. Municipal