BUSINESS

Robot farmer hits the fields

DESPINA KONTI

TAGS: Technology, Business

A startup in northern Greece has created a robot that will soon be helping farmers carry out all sorts of agricultural tasks – and take Greece one step closer to getting to grips with smart agriculture.

“Our aim is to have the robots perform all the work farmers are currently able to do,” Konstantinos Kandylas, founder of the Kilkis-based Terra Robotics firm, tells Kathimerini as he presents the features of the electricity powered robot he and friend and Terra co-founder Petros Katsileros started building a year-and-a-half ago.

“At this stage we are trying to finish the prototype, whose purpose it to move autonomously within a field and perform everyday tasks. By the word tasks, we refer to things like weeding, spotting plant diseases, etc,” explains Kandylas.

“The experimental robot our team is constructing can roam around a field alone, under the surveillance and with the intervention of the user. In the second stage we intend to add various tools used by farmers so as to identify the effect their installation on the robot will have,” he adds.

“We are also perfecting the design of the engineering platform for the final version of the product, which would be sold to clients. By the end of the year we expect to have the robot moving in the field without the need of any intervention from the user,” Kandylas tells Kathimerini.

The final prototype is expected to be ready in a year’s time, “which of course depends on many factors, not least funding,” Katsileros points out. Competition in this section of the Greek startup market has been growing in the few months since it first appeared: Provisional estimates speak of the global market of smart agriculture rising from $9.4 billion in 2017 to $27.42 billion in 2022.

The product of Terra Robotics will promise farmers improved performance of their field, a reduction in production costs and an increase in the output. The robot farmer is planned to work between six and eight hours a day, with the added bonus of the robot leaving the ground softer behind it than a tractor, allowing for better irrigation.

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