Among the many topics discussed at the European Robotics Forum 2012, was the application of robotics technology to agriculture. In a press release posted on the European Robotics Technology Platform website, Prof. Simon Blackmore, head of Engineering at Harper Adams University College is quoted as saying
We’ve started with a clean sheet of paper. We’re re-evaluating the whole approach to agriculture. At the moment, crops are drilled in straight rows to suit machines, but what if they were drilled to follow the contours of the land, or to take account of the micro level environmental conditions within a portion of a field? The potential boost to production we could generate if harvests were staggered to suit the crop rather than mechanisation is immense. We’re talking about micro tillage, mechanical weeding and planting using small, smart, autonomous, modular machines.Demonstrations of working machines were provided by the University of Copenhagen, the University of Southern Denmark, Wageningen University, and the University of Kaiserslautern. There's much more in the press release.