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Lack of legal framework slows robotics innovation

The market launch of agricultural robots in the EU faces failure due to the lack of a legal framework.

Could Europe’s farmers soon face competition from the use of automated robots? That is the question raised in the Robotics Report published by Agro Innovation Lab (AIL), the joint innovation hub spearheaded by BayWa and RWA.

Lack of a legal framework

In their status report, the authors conclude that agricultural robots are now technically so advanced that they could soon see increased use in agriculture. However, innovations and their market launch in this field face failure due to the lack of a legal framework. The authors say that it is up to lawmakers to create the appropriate conditions as quickly as possible.

Robotics market to grow

According to estimates, the robotics market will grow by 40 percent between now and 2025 and will also have a lasting impact on the agricultural sector, states the report. With the requirements for resource-friendly production techniques on the rise and the availability of labour growing ever more critical, mechanical solutions are increasingly gaining importance.

Shortage of labour in agriculture

In the future, agricultural robots could assist humans in performing physically demanding tasks, such as harvesting asparagus, and help to solve the growing problem posed by a shortage of labour in agriculture.

Robots could also be used in organic and conventional farming alike to mechanically combat weeds and mildew – one of the most common blights to befall cucumbers and strawberries.

Robotics Challenge competition

AIL announced the Robotics Challenge competition in 2019 and worked with farmers to test 6 prototypes in the field. The insights gained in the process were included in the Robotics Report.

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This summer, AIL worked with farmers to test a total of 6 prototypes of agricultural robots in the field. - Photo: Georges Schneider
This summer, AIL worked with farmers to test a total of 6 prototypes of agricultural robots in the field. - Photo: Georges Schneider

In their status report, the authors also classified 100 robotics companies around the world with regard to their current maturity level, as well as the functionalities and applications of their agricultural robots.

Legal and regulatory conditions in the EU

Furthermore, the report takes a look at the legal and regulatory conditions in the EU, with a special focus on Germany and Austria, and mentions the main challenges facing farmers and the companies involved in development.

Also read: Governments must change rules of automation

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