Glacier FarmMedia COVID-19 & the Farm

UBC to build an AgroBot that kills weeds, fertilizes crops

A University of British Columbia student design team is developing a fully autonomous agricultural robot, called an ‘AgroBot,’ to precisely target and exterminate weeds, fertilize crops and record important agricultural data for growers.

“To sustainably produce enough food for the world, there is an urgent need for innovation in the field of agriculture,” says Wendie Wu, AgroBot team member. “Engineering students are drawn by the technologies we see working in other industries and they’re eager to apply them in agriculture and help operations be as sustainable as possible.”

The AgroBot project involves four teams of students. One team designs the chassis such as the mechanical body, structure and driving system. A second team is working on the mechanics and chemical design to target weeds. A navigation team is developing the autonomous software to navigate crop rows and an image recognition team is using machine learning technology to allow AgroBot to identify crops and weeds.

“Agriculture continues to be one of the most innovative and agile industries in Canada, says Farm Credit Canada’s (FCC) marketing vice-president Fred Wall. “In order to feed a growing world population, we need to focus on sustainability and technology. FCC applauds the UBC AgroBot students for seeing the opportunity to apply their skills in agriculture and make a real difference for the food sector.”

To learn more about the AgroBot project, visit the UBC website.

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