Farming is long and hard work, but it can be rewarding too, especially when you take into consideration that you know what exactly you are eating. Not only that, it gives you a greater appreciation of nature, but why not enlist the help of technology to increase yield and efficiency on the farm? What you see above is the Ladybird, which happens to be a $1 million research project that is headed by the University of Sydney. The Ladybird was given that moniker since it looks like a giant, robotic one, being covered by solar photovoltaics to provide it with the necessary energy to move around.
So it looks like we’re going to live to see the rise of the autonomous robot farmer after all. Or at least, the robot farmhand. There are plenty of promising agricultural automatons in the works, after all: We’ve got mechanized hydroponic factory farmers, self-propelling farmballs, and, now, solar-powered robots that collect data, pick weeds, and someday, harvest crops. That latest entrant is the Ladybird, the product of a $1 million research project helmed by the University of Sydney. Named as such because it sort of resembles a mechanical ladybug, it’s covered by an arch of solar photovoltaics and is designed to both monitor and help cultivate vegetable crops. It’s laser-guided and self-driving, and for now, it’s primary mission is gathering data about the farm it tirelessly drives across. “Ladybird focuses on broad acre agriculture and is solar-electric powered. It has an array of sensors for detecting vegetable growth and pest species, either plant or animal,” Professor Salah Sukkarieh, one of the bots’ chief developers, said in a statement. “She also has a robotic arm for the purposes of removing weeds as well as the potential for autonomous harvesting.”