Session
Title: The Autonomous Acre: Robotics of the Future
Date: Wed Jul 24, 2019
Time: 8:00 AM - 10:00 AM
Moderator: Tim Norris
Economic Feasibility of Autonomous Vehicles

The replacement of large manned machines with smaller autonomous machinery represents a paradigm shift that may lead to significant changes in the structure of agriculture.  The implications of autonomous machinery could be profound and will most certainly encompass a variety of disciplines. As an economist, my goal is to assess the economic viability of performing agricultural field operations autonomously and provide engineers with valuable information regarding the development of intelligent controls necessary for implementation.  This presentation will discuss results from evaluating an autonomous prototype developed at the University of Kentucky for grain crop production.

Jordan Shockley (speaker)
Assistant Extension Professor
University of Kentucky
Lexington, KY 40546-0276
US
Dr. Shockley is an Assistant Extension Professor and Farm Management Specialist within the Department of Agricultural Economics at the University of Kentucky. His areas of expertise include the economics of precision agriculture technologies, post-harvest management, machinery management, the economics of soil quality, and poultry economics. His research on the economics of precision agriculture and robots spans the past 15 years publishing his work in renown precision agriculture journals and presenting results nationally and internationally, while educating producers around the U.S. on the proper techniques for evaluating the profitability of precision agriculture technologies.
Length (approx): 40 min
 
Open Source Ag Robotics

The Open Source, Robot Operating System (ROS), is used by the majority of robotic companies today.  Open Source refers to something that can be modified because its design and software are publicly accessible.  ROS Agriculture is creating an ecosystem of farmers and technologists to help facilitate the use of robots in Agriculture.  With over 12 years of robotic development, field experience, and a worldwide user base, learn how you can leverage the power of ROS. 

 

Matt Droter (speaker)
Founder
ROS Agriculture
Matt Droter is the founder of ROS Agriculture, an ecosystem to empower farmers with robotic tools. Back in college at Utah State, he raised many generations of wheat on a 10 sq ft plot, harvesting with scissors and turning part of his bounty into bread and bootleg beer. He was forced into robotics due to his adverse reaction to actual work, the best part of his job is watching farmer’s freak out when they see tractors driving themselves.
Length (approx): 20 min
 
Swarm Farming: The Economic Argument for and Design Constraints of the Tractor of the Future

Robotics in ag can offer more than just labor savings; it offers the opportunity to completely re-imagine the way in which a farm is organized. One such re-imagination is "swarm-farming," using multiple, small autonomous machines instead of a single tractor, sprayer or harvester. Zack James, founder of Rabbit Tractors, will discuss how these fleets of multi-purposed robots can increase yield, decrease input costs and serve as the enabling technology for cutting edge application technologies as well as explain the major design constraints these tractors of the future must satisfy to be adopted.

Zack James (speaker)
CEO, Founder
Rabbit Tractors
Zack ventured into ag robotics to satisfy his own pain point, a way for new farmers to begin an operation and grow organically without the need for millions of dollars in equipment. His belief was that if he could achieve the same efficiency levels as modern tractors with units that cost a fraction of what a modern tractor does and were easily transportable, he could establish a competitive advantage that allowed him to seek out the best pieces of land without geographic limitation at a lower cost of capital. Rabbit Tractors is the result of this vision. Their multi-purposed, modular, compact and autonomous tractor aims to be the platform in which the next revolution in farm technology is built on top of.
Length (approx): 20 min
 
Panel Discussion
Jordan Shockley (speaker)
Assistant Extension Professor
University of Kentucky
Lexington, KY 40546-0276
US
Dr. Shockley is an Assistant Extension Professor and Farm Management Specialist within the Department of Agricultural Economics at the University of Kentucky. His areas of expertise include the economics of precision agriculture technologies, post-harvest management, machinery management, the economics of soil quality, and poultry economics. His research on the economics of precision agriculture and robots spans the past 15 years publishing his work in renown precision agriculture journals and presenting results nationally and internationally, while educating producers around the U.S. on the proper techniques for evaluating the profitability of precision agriculture technologies.
Matt Droter (speaker)
Founder
ROS Agriculture
Matt Droter is the founder of ROS Agriculture, an ecosystem to empower farmers with robotic tools. Back in college at Utah State, he raised many generations of wheat on a 10 sq ft plot, harvesting with scissors and turning part of his bounty into bread and bootleg beer. He was forced into robotics due to his adverse reaction to actual work, the best part of his job is watching farmer’s freak out when they see tractors driving themselves.
Zack James (speaker)
CEO, Founder
Rabbit Tractors
Zack ventured into ag robotics to satisfy his own pain point, a way for new farmers to begin an operation and grow organically without the need for millions of dollars in equipment. His belief was that if he could achieve the same efficiency levels as modern tractors with units that cost a fraction of what a modern tractor does and were easily transportable, he could establish a competitive advantage that allowed him to seek out the best pieces of land without geographic limitation at a lower cost of capital. Rabbit Tractors is the result of this vision. Their multi-purposed, modular, compact and autonomous tractor aims to be the platform in which the next revolution in farm technology is built on top of.
Length (approx): 20 min