Lack of legal framework 'slowing ag robotics innovation in the EU'

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Lack of legal framework 'slowing ag robotics innovation in the EU'

Could Europe’s farmers soon face competition from the use of automated robots? That is the question raised in the Robotics Report published by Agro Innovation Lab (AIL), the joint innovation hub spearheaded by BayWa and RWA.

In their status report, the authors conclude that agricultural robots are now technically so advanced that they could soon see increased use in agriculture.

However, innovations and their market launch in this field face failure due to the lack of a legal framework. The authors say that it is up to lawmakers to create the appropriate conditions as quickly as possible.

According to estimates, the robotics market will grow by 40 percent between now and 2025 and will also have a lasting impact on the agricultural sector.

With the requirements for resource-friendly production techniques on the rise and the availability of labor growing ever more critical, mechanical solutions are increasingly gaining importance.

In the future, agricultural robots could assist humans in performing physically demanding tasks, such as harvesting asparagus, and help to solve the growing problem posed by a shortage of labor in agriculture.

Robots could also be used in organic and conventional farming alike to mechanically combat weeds and mildew – one of the most common blights to befall cucumbers and strawberries.

AIL announced the Robotics Challenge competition in 2019 and worked with farmers to test six prototypes in the field. 

In their status report, the authors also classified 100 robotics companies around the world with regard to their current maturity level, as well as the functionalities and applications of their agricultural robots.

Furthermore, the report takes a look at the legal and regulatory conditions in the EU, with a special focus on Germany and Austria, and mentions the main challenges facing farmers and the companies involved in development.

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