Fully autonomous herds of robots could be the future of farming, or at least that's what one roboticist thinks. Trossen Robotics forum member Vanmunch has developed an "Autonomous Micro Planter," which he's named Prospero.
Prospero, which uses 6 legs to move across the ground, comes loaded with a compliment of sensors that allow it to roam a landscape unimpeded. When it gets to a spot that it determines needs a seed, it drills into the soil, plants a seed and then sprays a marker (which could also include fertilizer and pesticides if necessary) so that other robots won't plant in the same spot.
If it notices that there are few seeds in a given area, it will signal other robots in the area to come over and help it plant. If, on the other hand, there are already plenty of seeds around it, it'll signal other bots away from it.
Vanmunch sees Prospero as the first step to an agricultural system that could effectively remove humans from farming, and allow smaller plots of land to be used more efficiently and reduce food costs.
I think that this is just one more way we'll end up saying that we welcome our new robot overlords.
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