Robotics research for forestry work

Wednesday 6 Dec 2017

Robots could soon take over dangerous forestry jobs - Some of the most dangerous and labour intensive jobs in the primary sector could soon be done by robots.

Researchers from Lincoln Agritech, Scion, and several universities around the country are working to develop robots that can be trained to work alongside people in the sector, and in manufacturing.

The $2 million project will take place over the next two years.

Agritech's group manager in precision agriculture, Armin Werner, said they would investigate how sensors and artificial intelligence could be used to help robots understand their surroundings and adapt to them.

He said they would provide enormous benefits to the primary sector, especially in dangerous industries such as forestry.

"We have so many hazardous working conditions. In forestry for example, felling trees, pruning trees in very steep and harsh environments, it is a very risky work area and in the future we need to support that work with robots that can adjust to the different situations in the forest," he said.

Dr Werner said robots would also prove helpful in fruit production and helping apple, kiwifruit and grape growers with pruning.

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Source: Radio New Zealand

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