Adaptive Field Robots
Tackling Unstructured Environments On Land, Underground, In Space
Field robots are non-factory mobile robots that operate in dynamic, unstructured environments. These types of robots aren’t programmed to repeat the same task over and over – they’re adaptive, responsive robots that work under variable conditions, sometimes even in unexplored territory. They often perform tasks that are too laborious or dangerous for humans. For this reason, as the underlying technology steadily advances their capabilities, field robots are becoming highly desirable to a number of different industries.
According to the International Federation of Robotics World Robotics 2018 Service Robots report, there were approximately 7,210 field robot units sold in 2018. Looking forward, an estimated 32,700 units will be sold between 2019 and 2021, representing a 22% compound annual growth rate (CAGR). The growth of this sector is heavily dependent upon the financial wellbeing of farmers.
Field robots have the most commercial potential and current success automating tasks in agriculture and ranching. Small “agribots” enable precision farming while collecting important data out in the field. Other field robots in agriculture can monitor key greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide to study the impact that agriculture has on climate change. Ranchers use autonomous field robots to herd sheep and cattle across thousands of square kilometers, ensuring all livestock remains healthy and has enough to graze on.
More advanced field robots are in development to tackle tougher challenges. They’re being used as drills, assistants and ore carriers for mining automation. Field robots are used by bomb squads and nuclear facilities to investigate potentially hazard materials. They’re even used in space exploration as remotely operated vehicles (ROV) with remote manipulator systems (RMS) to travel unexplored planets, collecting samples and conducting tests.
Field robots are automating some of the toughest jobs on this planet and others. While agriculture and farming are among the most popular trends now, field robots are likely to be deployed in a wide range of industries in the near future. Their ability to traverse unstructured environments makes them highly desirable.