Ultra-compact robot autonomously measures crop traits all day on a single charge

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In Illinois, TerraSentia, a new-to-the-market agricultural robot that autonomously measures crop traits, was unveiled by EarthSense, Inc. Developed at the University of Illinois, the robot can autonomously count plants and measure stem width to help estimate biomass for corn, sorghum and soybeans.

The robot’s developer, Girish Chowdhary, a professor in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering at U of I, envisions a fleet of these ultra-compact robots roving fields doing simple tasks that will free up precious human capital to work on the big picture.

TerraSentia comes equipped with two visual cameras, a tablet app featuring first-person view and secure cloud software that is used to store data and teach the robot. The ultra-compact robot weighs less than 15 pounds, is just 11 inches wide to fit in most crop rows and will cost early adopters $4,999.  At 8.5 hours per charge, the robot’s battery lasts a full workday.