Row-bot gives farmers a break - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Row-bot gives farmers a break

August 5, 2003

Tifton- Spending a day on a plow is almost an everyday routine for farmers, but thanks to UGA Ag Engineers developing the Row-bot, that may be a thing of the past.

"You program it to go where it needs to go, or it decided itself where it needs to go based on what the conditions are you're interested in. That's what makes it autonomous rather than just self-guided," explains Ag. Engineer, Glen Rains.

Not only can the machine plow with GPS-guided technology, but it can also check the health of plants and fields, monitor cattle with an on-board video camera, spray for bugs, take soil samples and report all the information in real time back to the farmer's P-C.

"You can hook on to the internet and we have a wireless connection to the internet and you can actually make it go forward, backwards, turn left and right without even seeing it. Theoretically, you could be in China and control what it's doing," Rains says.

So, what will it take before Row-bot start appearing on fields?

"I would say five to ten years, it would probably take that long," estimates Rains.

The price tag could be around $30,000.

The big blue guy is just a prototype, Rains says the actual Row-bots will be about the size of riding lawnmower. Once they make it into the market, farming will virtually become a inside job.

Engineers also hope to design Row-bots to be networked together so that several fields can be worked at the same time. Rains and his colleagues plan to have the Row-bot fully operational by next year.

Posted at 6:00 PM by elaine.armstrong@walb.com