…Artificial Intelligence ‘nervous system’ Wilma a finalist for Best Emerging Technology in Big Data Award…
Small Robot Company, a British agritech start-up, today announced that its Wilma artificial intelligence ‘nervous system’ is a finalist for Computing’s Big Data Excellence Awards. The awards celebrate the top performers working at the forefront of data, analytics, the Internet of Things and Big Data.
The Small Robot Company harnesses the power and precision of robots and ArtificialIntelligence (AI) to improve the way that food is produced and minimise chemical usage.
Wilma will work alongside Small Robot Company’s arable farming robots Tom, Dick and Harry to provide a granular digital view of the farm. This will enable farmers to be kinder to soil, kinder to the environment, more efficient, more precise and more productive.
Wilma is the brains of the operation. Built on Canonical’s cutting edge Ubuntu Internet of Things operating system, she draws upon a comprehensive big data crop model for all her decision-making. With Wilma, farmers can look at the data as it comes in from the field to make 10x better decisions. Robust per-plant data creates a ‘profit map’ that shows which areas of field to use, what to plant where and when, and which to use for ‘set aside’ biodiversity subsidy.
“Technology has changed almost every industry – but farming is still stuck on analogue. We want to digitise the field,” says Ben Scott-Robinson, co-founder, Small Robot Company. “The fully-fledged digital farm will comprise a broad ecosystem encompassing robotics, drones, autonomous vehicles, big data and artificial intelligence. Wilma’s potential for efficiency is phenomenal. Simply put, she means the ability to apply permaculture techniques at scale.”
“Interconnected systems of many small interventions together can have a massive impact,” says Kevin Burrowes, Head of Clients and Markets, PwC. “Small companies are often the ones that change industries. Disruption is driven by agility and an alternative outlook; it’s not about avoiding the downside, but mapping the opportunity.”
“Small Robot Company’s approach is significantly different to the typical ‘big company’ approach of automation or extension of existing systems. Digitisation, enabled by robotics, unlocks the potential for exponential improvements in the farmer’s ability to collect, process and act on data. Every industry is subject to disruption and digital transformation and agriculture is no exception.”
Digitising the field with Artificial Intelligence
Small Robot Company’s AI-driven technology allows a level of autonomy, accuracy and detail that will make it possible for smaller farms to be profitable. Wilma will take in the sum of all farming knowledge, including agronomy, soil science and market conditions, coupled with aggregated big data from all farms across the country, and apply it to the information gathered about the crop.
Wilma will know exactly where each individual plant is, and monitor it to provide precise care on a per plant basis. With Wilma’s guidance, the robots will only feed and spray the plants that need it, giving them the perfect levels nutrients and support, with no waste. This will minimise chemical usage in farming by up to 95%.
Eventually, each process – from knowing when to plant, to all aspects of crop care, to knowing when to harvest – will be automated.
Small Robot Company recently won a prestigious Horizontal Innovation™ Award from the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) and the High Value Manufacturing Catapult (HVMC) to develop its Harry robot prototype technology.