This Australian agri robotics startup is using autonomous robots to pull weeds and herd livestock
Agerris is an Australian field robotics and AI startup that is aiming to equip farmers and growers with cutting-edge air and ground field robotic systems, intelligent tools and artificial intelligence (AI) solutions, to support their on-farm activities, improve farm productivity, and to support animal welfare and environmental sustainability. The company its name from Latin root word “ager” which means field, farm, land, territory, soil, and “ris,” which is an acronym for robotics and intelligent systems.
Founded this year by University of Sydney Professor of Robotics and Intelligent Systems, and 2019 NSW Australian of the Year nominee Salah Sukkarieh, Agerris is a field robotics and AI startup for the agriculture industry. It was started based on technology created at the Australian Centre for Field Robotics, the University of Sydney, where they have been developing air and ground robotic solutions for the agriculture industry since 2005. Agerries has already commercialized two robotics platforms first developed by the University of Sydney’s Australian Centre for Field Robotics.
One of Agerris products includes Swagbot, developed using technology from Australian Centre for Field Robotics, the University of Sydney. Swagbot is an autonomous, ground-based vehicle, it uses onboard AI and other intelligent tools to undertake broad range of agricultural activities such as identifying and eradicating weeds and monitoring pasture. It also has the capacity to herd livestock, and will be able to monitor the welfare of animals.
Swagbot is one of the one of two technologies underpinning the project’s commercialization. Operating autonomously, Swagbot is able to identify and manage weed levels, monitor pasture quality and herd livestock. The platform will soon be able to monitor the welfare of grazing animals, and can be purpose-fit to deal with large scale row and tree cropping applications.
Agerris’ other product is Digital Farmhand, a second durable, low-cost autonomous robotics platform that automates on-farm tasks. Digital Farmhand will also be developed by Agerris. The platform has been designed to assist smallholder row and tree crop farmers to better manage yields and crop health, including farmers in developing nations.
On Monday, Agerris announced a 6.5 million Australian dollars ($4.64 million) funding to commercialize its automated farm equipment and help support farmers all over Australia. The fresh capital was led by Australia’s longest running research commercialization fund, Uniseed, with participation from venture capital firms Carthona Capital and BridgeLane Group.
“Farmers worldwide will need to increase production through enhancing agricultural productivity, yet many often struggle to afford the best customised advice for their farm, leading to sub-optimal yields and efficiencies from their crops,” said Professor Sukkarieh.
“Livestock farmers, meanwhile, face a number of competing and complex issues, such as high labour and fuel costs, as well as animal welfare and mismanagement concerns,” he explained.
“Our platforms help to mitigate these challenges and help increase productivity by giving farmers smart precision farming approaches, made possible through our advances in sensor technology and farming automation. At the same time, our technology also enhances animal welfare and environmental sustainability.”