Robots could revolutionize the Norwegian agriculture

Agricultural robotAgricultural robot Thorvald is designed to be as easy as possible, since heavy machinery causes soil compaction. Photo: Aleksander Andersen

Agricultural Robots are the next big technology shift in agriculture. Many of the most innovative robots are developed in Norway.

– Norway is a world leader in the development of robots, says Pål From, CEO of Saga Robotics and professor at NMBU. Saga Robotics is working in collaboration with NMBU and Norwegian farmers on researching an agricultural robot called Thorvald.
– Thorvald can till, fertilize, weed and harvest. But the uniqueness of Thorvald is his size, says From.
Bigger is no longer the best
Until now, the development of agricultural resulted in huge machines with tremendous capacity.
– Unfortunately the weight of the machines destroys the soil structure in the field, and the machines have high greenhouse gas emissions, says From.
Agricultural robot Thorvald is designed to be as light as possible.
– Heavy machinery causes soil compaction. It can reduce yields by up to 20 percent. When there is heavy rain large machines are useless, since they get stuck in the mud. The consequences of not being able to get out on the field in time can be huge.
Though Thorvald has been developed for Norwegian conditions, From does not believe that it will destroy opportunities for success abroad. On the contrary, From believes it will give Thorvald a competitive advantage.
– We know that it will rain more than it does today. In the new climate these robots will be perfect, says From.
Past success can be repeated
Norway has had great success with exports of agricultural equipment before. The success of Kverneland plow has shown that we can commercialize and export innovations. The Chief Advisor for industrial policy and innovation in the Norwegian agricultural cooperative, Åge Klepp, believes we may be facing a new export adventure.
– When Norway can be a world leader in plowing there is no reason to believe that we should not be an international spearhead in technology related to robotics, precision agriculture. Especially because Norwegian vegetable farmers are eager to test new solutions and drive further development, said Klepp.
Source: landbruk.no / Norway Today

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