A ‘smashing’ time
One of the many great things about working at RED is the sheer variety of places we get sent to all over the world. You never know where you may be travelling to next and there are always interesting people to meet and fascinating topics to create content about.
Our latest assignment with YANMAR took us deep into the Tuscan wine region to learn all about advanced field robotics research.
The Italian Job
Accompanied by our client, Andy D and Jon returned to the company’s European R&D facility in Florence. Our task was to show how YANMAR is using its extensive experience in automation and agricultural mechanisation to develop a mobile agricultural eco-system to monitor, analyse and manage vineyard crops.
This two-year, four-million euro ‘SMASH’ (Smart Machine for Agricultural Solutions Hightech) project consists of the development of a prototype agro-bot that examines crops and soils, and provides actionable information to farmers to support crop management.
SMASH and grab?
One of YANMAR’s many roles in this project was to develop control systems for the multipurpose robotic arm for: mobile manipulation (including precision spraying); sensor integration for positioning technologies; and autonomous navigation and software development for the control of the system’s mobile base.
RED filmed one of the SMASH prototypes at a vineyard farm in the Pisa province, to show how a future robotic eco-system could be used to monitor crops, take soil samples for analysis and accurately target agricultural chemicals for precision application. We also visited Florence University’s agriculture department for an interview about how adopting precision farming techniques could help farmers realise healthier, higher-value production.
We were hosted throughout by Manuel, who explained the mapping and monitoring, weeding and feeding technologies that such a labour-saving system could offer the industry one day, thus freeing up valuable time for workers to concentrate on other farming activities.
The fruits of our labour
Following the visit to Tuscany, RED produced a case study and short film (including motion graphic) to demonstrate how using automated and connected agriculture to bring scientific data and farmers’ needs together could be exactly what the industry needs in the future.
It was a fascinating insight into the positive benefits of automation, especially during this period of climate change, which makes it increasingly harder to argue against using science and technology to sustainably increase quality and yields from the land.
We’d like to thank Paul for making the journey all the way from Japan to accompany us on this trip and we’re looking forward to future interesting assignments together once the travel restrictions are lifted and we can all move freely again. Learn more about SMASH and its possibilities here.
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