A project funded by Agri-tech Cornwall and the Cornwall Development Company is bringing affordable agricultural robots to the county.

A £12,967 innovation grant has enabled the company Robotriks to create an autonomous platform which can be built at low cost and, within a few hours, is ready to get to work.

The company's RTU platform has been designed as a low-cost and versatile means to help farmers with the current shortage of manual labour.

Jake Shaw-Sutton, director at Robotriks said: “The aim is to create a system which is affordable and reliable.

“It’s not about taking away jobs, it’s about filling jobs where there currently are no people available to do them. For a while there have been fewer people willing to go out into the fields and harvest fruit and vegetables; this is an autonomous solution to that.”

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South West Farmer:

Picture: Robotriks

The Agri-tech Cornwall project is an £11.8m initiative, running to June 2021, that supports research, development and innovation into agricultural technologies that boost the agricultural, horticultural and food sectors in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

Robotriks is part of a cluster of exciting technology companies emerging at the University of Plymouth in conjunction with the Agri-tech Cornwall project.

Also part of this cluster is Fieldwork Robotics, a spinout launched to commercialise a series of robot crop-harvesting technology which is currently valued in excess of £5million.

Yve Metcalfe-Tyrrell, Agri-tech project manager at the University, said: “This is technology being demanded by industry, and the south west is at the forefront of meeting that demand. The University has a long track record in robotics and we are now applying that in ways which have the potential to transform the future of agriculture.

“We have been working closely with Robotriks to enable them to develop and this is only the start. Together with other emerging companies, their growth can create a cluster of excellence that positions the south west as the epicentre of agricultural and technological innovation.”