An agricultural tech business has joined forces with North East Company of the Year, Tharsus, to develop and make a fleet of farming robots.
Small Robot Company, an agritech start-up for sustainable farming based in Salisbury, has announced it is working on the industrial design and manufacture of its first robot fleet, which will deliver a commercial service for weed mapping.
The firm is planning to service around 2,000 hectares with the new ‘Tom’ robots by January 2021, with customers signed up to use the new robots include Waitrose & Partners and the National Trust, which is looking to expand its use of robots across its farms.
Early field trials are under way in 20 farms across the UK, including the National Trust Wimpole Estate and Waitrose & Partners Leckford Estate.
The initial fleet of 10 robots will be manufactured by Tharsus, the Blyth-based robots designer and manufacturer who also have an office at NETPark, will have the first of the fleet ready in October 2020.
Tharsus will finesse the ‘Tom’ monitoring robot prototype design for eventual mass production in Blyth, working with Small Robot Company on a rigorous industrial design process.
The firm picked Tharsus, which also manufactures Ocado’s warehouse robots, for its experience in advanced robot manufacture.
The monitoring robots first locate the weeds, after which a weed zapping service is anticipated to be available from autumn 2021. Other benefits from the mapping service include yield predictions and measurement of herbicide efficacy.
Small Robot Company’s mission is to maximise food production while reducing its cost on the environment.
News source: Business Live