CASE STUDY: SwarmFarm - robots applied to solving world food challenges and why this is relevant to Australia

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SwarmFarm Robotics is a technology company based near Emerald in rural Queensland. SwarmFarm never set out to automate agriculture or save labour – rather, their philosophy is to create new farming systems that are not possible on the back of a tractor.

The company was founded by farmers who have spent 20 years farming with modern technology that has seen such equipment as tractors, sprayers and planting machinery become increasingly larger and more complex. The farmers came up with the idea that multiples of small, lightweight robots working together in a ‘swarm’ would be the driver of new AgTech into farming.

The SwarmBot platform is an entirely new development that has evolved from the ground up. It utilises robotic technology and an ecosystem of independent developers that create modular technology for application to the platform.

The SwarmBot is a platform for carrying smart tools and implements around paddocks in a much more precise and repeatable manner than is achievable on board a tractor.

Ultimately, this technology will make it easy for farmers to put new AgTech in their paddocks, undertake new field practices, and deploy technology into their farming systems by using ‘swarms’ of smart, mobile, and automated robots.

SwarmBots are already being successfully used in commercial broadacre cropping operations, with scope to expand the technology to other agricultural industries. The innovative Queensland start-up is working with a leading global supplier of technology and services, Bosch, to redesign its unique SwarmBot robotic platform for commercial production. In this partnership, SwarmFarm Robotics will develop the final production model of the SwarmBot ahead of commercial sales to farmers in mid-2018.

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