In the search for innovation in agriculture, the Agro Innovation Lab (AIL), the joint innovation platform of BayWa and RWA, is breaking new ground: In a special format, the Robotics Challenge, the AIL this year focuses on robotics solutions in agriculture, in particular in the fields of autonomous weed control and fruit and vegetable harvest. The challenge participants can win a sales cooperation with BayWa and RWA or an investment.
“We need automation and the use of artificial intelligence to achieve the sustainability objectives in agriculture”, said Klaus Josef Lutz, chairman of BayWa AG. At the same time robotics contributes to relieving employees of heavy physical work and to counteract the problem of lack of labour which already manifests itself in the specialised crop area today. “We invest in this still nascent area to pave the way for the best solutions to be applied and thus provide them early to farmers in our home market”, said Lutz. In the plantation of its New Zealand subsidiary T&G Global, BayWa already uses harvesting robots for the apple harvest.
“In an industrial comparison, agriculture has the fourth largest potential for automation”, said AIL managing director David Saad. “Our aim is to occupy this rapidly growing business area early on and to gain a pioneering lead in the use of robotics in agriculture.”
Companies already possessing functioning prototypes can apply online at agroinnovationlab.com by 23 April to participate in the Robotics Challenge. A jury will select the most promising solutions which will be tested in practice this summer. The field trials will take place on agricultural areas in Germany and/or Austria. At the concluding event of the Robotics Challenge in September in Munich the winners will be announced.