Robots are fast supplanting humans in rote tasks not just in manufacturing units, but are also in agricultural fields. They are increasingly leveraged to sow and reap crops, pluck fruits, weeding, irrigation, and milking cows. This is because they carry out the tasks much faster and with greater degree of accuracy – USPs which make them cost effective too. This along with greater basic pay for farm laborers mandated by governments of various nations has resulted in surging uptake of agriculture robots.
How is product innovation impacting the market for agriculture robots?
Lured by promising prospects, keen companies have allocated significant amounts in research and development of more cutting edge products. Hence, ultra-sophisticated agriculture robots with myriad features and functionalities have hit the market or are likely to do so in the near future. Examples in this direction are products by a San Diego-based company called Vision Robotics, which has been developing agriculture robots for long. Its standout products – a vineyard pruner that uses a robotic arm to thin vines after visualizing them and an automated lettuce thinner which weeds out extra plants to accomplish the requisite spacing – are expected to see soaring adoption in the next couple of years.
Which latest technologies are being leveraged by companies to build more effective products?
Latest technologies, namely data analytics, cloud, and the Internet of Things (IoT) are being liberally used by designers and manufacturers to get optimal results from their unmanned robots that dramatically lessen the need for human intervention. Unmanned remote-controlled helicopters are already in use for over two decades to spray rice fields. And with the gradual popularity and acceptance of lightweight drones, the cost of such spraying will likely come down further and would enable to irrigate smaller tracts of land. All such developments are expected to disrupt the agriculture robot market big time.
What are the headwinds the market is braving in order to progress?
The market for agriculture robots also needs to brave a few policy headwinds to make progress. One of them is the mounting concerns over increase in unemployment caused by automation. To thwart it, many governments have framed policies to limit automation. However, free market forces have shown that it is eventually detrimental for profitability and economic growth. Apart from that, keeping a tab on the complicated biological environment is another hurdle faced by agriculture robots and this is crimping their effectiveness to an extent.
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Which regions are seeing maximum growth?
From a geographical standpoint, the global agriculture robot market can be segmented into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and the Rest of the World. North America and Europe, of them, are witnessing high demand because of the large tracts of farm lands in the region, tech savvy farmers, and fewer farm hands. The U.S. and Canada are primarily driving the market in North America. Japan, Mexico, Australia, and China are other key regions in the market.