Although as consumers we may sometimes feel quite detached from food production, agriculture is central to all our lives. As an industry, agriculture has often been at the forefront of technological development, and today researchers are developing robots that can lighten the load at virtually every stage of the growing process.
In this episode, Claire entered the muddy world of agricultural robotics with help from Petra Bosilj (University of Lincoln) and Chris Chavasse (MuddyMachines).
Dr Petra Bosilj is a Senior Lecturer in Agri-Robotics at the Lincoln Institute for Agri-Technology, University of Lincoln, and specialises in robotic vision for agriculture. Her research focuses on visual scene analysis and interpretation, and has been applied to different agricultural processes such as robotic weeding, assessing soil quality and estimating yields from crop counts. The goal of her research is not only to improve the efficacy of agricultural practices, but to ensure the food production chain has a sustainable and even a regenerative effect on our environment.
Chris Chavasse has spent his entire career in robotics innovation. At school, he was involved with the First Lego League robotics competitions and RoboCup Junior. He went on to complete his Masters in Electronics Engineering at the University of Warwick, developing new UAVs and Search & Rescue Robots. Upon graduating, he spent four years at Dyson, inventing the next generation of household robots, followed by two years leading the development of novel commercial kitchen robots at Deliveroo, before founding Muddy Machines, where he is now focused on solving domestic growers most pressing issues.