By HARRY CLARKE

CUTTING edge farming vehicles built in Denmark will soon begin rolling out across Queensland crop paddocks – without anyone driving them.

Danish AgTech developer Agrointelli is on a regional tour showcasing Robotti, a fully automated farming machine and the latest product in robotic field equipment which is revolutionising the agricultural industry.

After a few minutes of online programming, the Robotti can be deployed handsfree on crop paddocks to carry out menial farming tasks such as weeding, spraying and slashing, freeing up the user to carry out “more meaningful” farming operations.

The machines are being distributed in Australia under a partnership between AgTech companies Corematic and FormAtt Machinery.

WATCH: Agrointelli product specialist Jens Johnson demostrates the Robotti

Speaking at a demonstration event at the AgTech Logisitics Hub outside Toowoomba, Corematic engineering director Scott Hansen said Robotti had huge potential in Australia.

“It’s described as a robotic implement carrier, so any form of implement that has low ground engagement can be utilised on this platform to perform any repeatable, autonomous tasks,” Mr Hansen (pictured) said.

“For example seeding, weeding and spraying – any form of those types of operations – can be done autonomously with minimal human intervention.

“The primary advantage of automating and roboticising these types of operations is that they’re all very repeatable and predictable.

“It also allows us to repurpose people into roles that are more meaningful. Rather than sitting in an auto-steer tractor where the person has very minimal impact anyway, they can be repurposed into position where people actually bring real value.”

Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise’s (TSBE) Stephen Dummett, community manager at the AgTech Logistics Hub, said there was a low risk that equipment like the Robotti would be taking jobs out of the industry.

“One of the biggest challenges in agriculture at the moment is the lack of labour, so this really isn’t just a technology play, it’s solving an industry challenge,” he said.

“We’ve had more than 70 people book in to see the Robotti, so there’s been a lot of interest from all over Queensland in all sectors.”

Danish designers with Agrointelli spent 20 years developing Robotti, which draws on a variety of exisiting agricultural robotics innovations to make the machine as user-friendly as possible for consumers.

It’s fitted with a standard 3-point linkage and pro shaft, allowing many exisiting farming components to fit onto the vehicle. The user programs their farming tasks on a website which are then read and executed by the Robotti.

After two decades of development, Agrointelli began commercialising the machine in 2019 and there are now more than 30 units working across more than 10 countries in Europe and the UK.

Corematic’s Scott Hansen said there was already a market for the product in Australia, listing tree crops such as macadamias and almonds, and small crops such as corn and broccoli, as highly suitable applications.

“It’s working very well, it’s proven technology and definitely a technology that’s well suited to the Australian industry,” he said.

“If Australia wants to stay up with the big nations as a primary food producer we have to be able to automate and remain at the forefront of efficiency and effectiveness in what we’re producing.”

 

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