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Can robots help to feed the world?

Robert Bogue (Okehampton, UK)

Industrial Robot

ISSN: 0143-991x

Article publication date: 4 January 2013

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the potential of robots to contribute to producing food for the growing global population.

Design/methodology/approach

Following an introduction which provides an historical background to agricultural production and strategies, this paper considers today's use of robots in traditional agricultural practices. It then introduces precision farming (PF) concepts and discuses the potential role of robots in PF and cites a number of recent research activities. Finally, conclusions are drawn.

Findings

This paper shows that robots have so far played a minor role in traditional agriculture but new families of small, intelligent and autonomous robots could conduct a range of PF tasks. These would boost productivity and also yield economic and environmental benefits and contribute to more sustainable food production practices.

Originality/value

This paper puts forward the case for the use of small, intelligent robots in PF and argues that they could contribute significantly to global food production.

Keywords

Citation

Bogue, R. (2013), "Can robots help to feed the world?", Industrial Robot, Vol. 40 No. 1, pp. 4-9. https://doi.org/10.1108/01439911311294200

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited