How will robots rescue Japanese agriculture?

A Japanese company uses automated robots to enhance organic rice farming efficiency. How does it work?

In organic rice farming, weeding is a time-consuming and labor-intensive task.

In addition, Japan is suffering from the world’s most severe ageing society. The impact of agricultural chemicals and chemical fertilisers on the environment has also become a global issue.

A Japanese company Yuuki Mai Design (YMD; 有機米デザイン株式会社) begun to solve these problems by using automated robots to improve their efficiency.

Inspired by rice-duck farming, this robot is 1.2m wide by 20cm high. It is charged by solar panels and uses GPS to recognize its location.

It navigates autonomously through the paddy field after scratching, blocking sunlight by agitating the water and swirling up the mud. This inhibits the growth of weeds beneath the water surface, thus preventing weeds from growing without using herbicides.

The developer hopes to start selling this robot within a few years.

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