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René Koerhuis


The market for agricultural robots is developing at a rapid pace, with a large number of established and startup agricultural technology companies developing, piloting, and launching an innovative range of robotic systems to tackle a wide variety of tasks, according to a new research report published by Tractica. Key application areas for agricultural robots include driverless tractors, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), material management, field crops and forest management, soil management, dairy management, and animal management, with a diverse set of subcategories emerging within each of those areas.

According to the report from Tractica, developed in collaboration with The Robot Report, shipments of agricultural robots will increase significantly in the years ahead, rising from 32,000 units in 2016 to 594,000 units annually in 2024, by which time the market is expected to reach $74.1 billion in annual revenue.

“The rising demand for agricultural robots is being driven by a number of factors including global population growth, increasing strain on the food supply, declining availability of farm workers, the challenges, costs, and complexities of farm labor, changing farmlands, climate change, the growth of indoor farming, and the broader automation of the agriculture industry,” says Tractica research analyst Manoj Sahi.

“Robotics companies are keenly focused on the agricultural market opportunity,” adds Frank Tobe, editor and publisher of The Robot Report. “Our research identified and profiled more than 150 industry participants who are developing and launching robotic systems to address the need for more automation to improve efficiency, reduce costs, and address labor concerns against the backdrop of a rapidly changing agriculture market and technology environment.”

René Koerhuis


Precision farming in Europe took off about 20 years ago. The GPS and sensor aided technique in principle offers huge potential to improve efficiency and precision with respect for our environment. Nevertheless, the impossibilities seem to prevent a real breakthrough. 

IMG_3579As from the beginning, the main focus has been on technology. Technology that, if you take a close look, hasn’t changed that much over the past decades. Of course we now use centimetre precision and autopilot steering systems, but the problems still are interpretation and translation of the collected data. How can you relate lower yields to soil conditions or nutrient deficits, or both?