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Tevel Aerobotics Technologies wins Best Field Robot Concept Award 2020!

Tevel Aerobotics Technologies has won the Best Field Robot Concept Award 2020. The international expert jury selected their fruit picking drone from 22 applications from 11 countries. The public winner from a total of 2,359 individual votes is the Fieldwork Robotics fruit and vegetable picking robot.

During the international agricultural robot event FIRA on 10 December, Tevel Aerobotics Technologies from Israel was announced winner of the Best Field Robot Concept (BFRC) Award 2020. An international expert jury chose their fruit picking drone as the most promising robot concept that was covered on www.futurefarming.com over the last 18 months and those who applied to a call from FIRA and/or Future Farming.

Platform for most promising robot concepts

All over the world, smart and passionate engineers and inventors are working hard on field robots that should make life easier and more efficient for farmers. Robots that enable the cultivation of crops with less labour, fewer chemicals and fertilisers and fewer greenhouse gas emissions.

Dozens of agricultural robot concepts have been introduced in recent years. Some have now found their way to farms across the globe, but the majority still is in a concept phase. Which one of these field robots is the most original and has the potential to really contribute to increased and more sustainable food production but is not yet commercially available? In other words: which field robot concept deserves the “Best Field Robot Concept Award 2020”?

Independent international jury

22 different robot concepts from 11 countries and 4 continents were considered for the BFRC Award 2020 and 10 of them made it to the shortlist:

  • AI.Land ETAROB
  • Fendt Xaver
  • Fieldwork Robotics
  • HayBeeSee Crophopper
  • H-WodKa Robotiller
  • iTarra
  • Nexus Robotics
  • Robotics Plus
  • Tevel Aerobotics
  • thingc Robotics

All Top 10 contestants were evaluated by each individual member of the jury on:

3 hard criteria:

  1. Originality
  2. Feasibility
  3. Potential to impact farmer’s life

2 soft criteria were used to conclude on any likely ex aequo results:

  1. Ease of farmer uptake
  2. Sustainability

From these 10, the international expert jury consisting of Antoine Chatelain (F, student and farmer’s son), Dr Michael Dent (UK, Senior Technology Analyst at IDTechEx), Geert Hekkert (NL, Editor in Chief of Future Farming), René Koerhuis (NL, editor of Future Farming and expert in ag robots), Julie Peyrache (F, Investment Director and treasurer of the FIRA/GOFAR association) and Bram Veldhuisen (NL, researcher precision farming and robotics at Wageningen University and Research) selected a Top 3 and a winner of the BFRC Award 2020:

  1. Tevel Aerobotics Technologies (Israel)
  2. H-WodKa Robotiller (Netherlands)
  3. HayBeeSee Crophopper (United Kingdom)

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Autonomous platforms each serve as a hub for up to 6 harvesting drones. The platforms navigate through the orchards and provide the power and computing/processing power to the quadcopter drones. Once picked, the fruit is positioned in a container on the platform. Photo: Tevel
Autonomous platforms each serve as a hub for up to 6 harvesting drones. The platforms navigate through the orchards and provide the power and computing/processing power to the quadcopter drones. Once picked, the fruit is positioned in a container on the platform. Photo: Tevel

The jury chose Tevel Aerobotics Technologies as a winner because their concept fits the criteria the best. The tethered drones with autonomous platforms serving as a hub, solve the typical energy dilemma of drones and the complex challenge of picking fruit with robot arms and grippers. The reduction of labour involved can truly impact farmers’ lives.

Award winner Tevel Aerobotics Technologies is entitled to use the golden BFRC Award logo for 1 year and gets free entrance to FIRA 2021 including accommodation and journey and a special live demo at FIRA 2021!

FIRA and Future Farming wish to thank every contestant and congratulates the Top 3 concepts and especially Tevel Aerobotics Technologies for winning the BFRC Award 2020!

And this is the public vote winner

Apart from the professional jury, the audience of FIRA and the readers of Future Farming were also invited to cast their vote for their personal most promising field robot concept from the Top 10 concepts. An astonishing number of 2,359 people casted their vote! And the winner of the public voting is:
1. Fieldwork Robotics picking robot (United Kingdom with 40 % of the votes)
2. Crophopper weeding robot (United Kingdom with 18.7 % of the votes)
3. H-Wodka Robotiller field robot (Netherlands with 18,2 % of the votes)

The prototype Fieldwork Robotics raspberry harvester is the public vote winner. Photo: Fieldwork Robotics/University of Plymouth
The prototype Fieldwork Robotics raspberry harvester is the public vote winner. Photo: Fieldwork Robotics/University of Plymouth

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