I want to keep a running list of competing open source and closed source machines. Not just semi-autonomous tractors but similar concepts.
Acorn name collision here, and while they use solar and wind as the energy sources, it is collected via support vehicles, which then charge the agribots.
Also, “We have 13 patent applications ‘pending’ ranging from vehicle designs to unique processes and assemblies”
There are literally hundreds of farming robots out there these days. This is going to be a very long list!
Acorn Bots - I struggle to see how their robots will be cost effective when they use SICK LIDAR, the frames are all made of carbon fibre, and they use support robots to recharge other robots… Shame on the name collision though. Is UK based so maybe they didn’t trademark in the US yet?
My favourite robot is the pixel farming robot. I think they are on the right track with using automation to make commercial biodiverse agriculture a reality.
This tethered Apple picking drone is pure genius. So cheap to make and very effective.
I think that limiting our list to robots that are directly competing is useful. While ‘our’ Acorn would potentially be applicable to fruit-on-the-ground applications like cured on the ground nuts (Almonds, Walnuts, Pecans, etc), it’s not an effective solution compared to existing orcharding solutions. Eventually it might be well suited for orchard operations with an arm or as a tether station (I have serious doubts about the energy cost effectiveness of the Tevel solution), but orchard equipment is mostly operated in shade conditions.
The Pixel Robot One is a great one though, it’s a excellent example of a competing product that fills a similar space. With 10kWh of on board storage and 5 large solar panels it’s a good basis too to compare our estimates for storage and generation. They are also interacting with a much larger field space. The cost is likely higher as well.
So as an example for the eventual list:
Tevel tethered aerial drone
- Picks fruit from orchard trees
- Tethered to mobile power station
- Specific to fresh picked hanging fruit from small to large established trees
- Not for ground level crops
- Not a competing product
- Possibly a companion product
Pixel Farming Robotics ‘Robot One’
- Directly competing functions
- On Board solar
- 10kWh of energy storage
- 4x Manipulators
- Existing (working) solution
- Already polyculture and high density planting ready
- High investment per machine
- Oriented towards large operators
- Wide low pressure tires drive directly on plants
A gardening bot built around working like a 3-D printer with a gardening tools instead of print heads on a gardening box.
https://finance.yahoo.com/news/automated-agricultural-helpers-ripe-robots-122213155.html This one is a crab the size of a basket ball.
This picture collection of various farm robots shows different drive styles. The top left looks like Acorn: a solar panel on stilts.
The previously mentioned Carbon Robotics laser weed zapper has cantilevered wheels (supported from one side only, and doesn’t appear to have rear steering. per most common rear picture
This one from Biddleford Maine is a startup with a 4th gen prototype, battery powered from solar charged base station is aiming for cheap ($25), straddle robot for mechanically weeding veg. Looks like a gantry cnc machine on riser walls with small wheels, no steering.
Thorvald from Saga Robotics has crab steering with cantilevered legs.
This spidery looking weeding robot Small Robot Company in Hampshire uses electric current to blast weeds. Again with cantilevered fat short wheels, on crab steering legs.
https://burro.ai a cart like robot that follows the orchard workers to carry the picked fruits, with phase 2 of picking fruits using robotic arms, and can be extended to more purposes. Gas powered it looks like.
Yet another large scall weeding machine NAIO Autonomous weeding & agricultural robots