Cambridge Consultants unveils Mamut autonomous robot for agriculture

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Cambridge Consultants has unveiled its autonomous robot, Mamut, which is built to explore crop fields, and capture data on health and yield at the level of individual plants on a large scale.

According to Cambridge Consultants, Mamut automates data capture, providing growers with regular, precise and actionable information on their crops, which allows them to predict and optimize yields.

Powered by artificial intelligence, Mamut is equipped with a wide range of sensors, and can map and navigate its surroundings without GPS or a fixed radio infrastructure. Its cameras capture detailed crop data at the plant level as it makes its way through rows of a field, orchard or vineyard, allowing for accurate predictions of yield and crop health.

Mamut integrates a variety of technologies, including stereo cameras, LIDAR, an inertial measurement unit (IMU), a compass, wheel odometers and an on-board AI system that fuses the multiple sensor data inputs. This combination of technologies allows the robot to not only know where it is, but also know how to navigate through a new environment, in real time.

“Mamut is a practical application of AI, meeting a real and pressing need, particularly for growers of specialty crops where failure carries a high cost,” says Niall Mottram, head of Agritech, Cambridge Consultants.

“AI systems are already being used to understand crop conditions, yield predictions and to enable weed identification, but our autonomous robotic platform can collect valuable and granular data below the canopy, where drones cannot see. This data enables farmers to treat each plant in their vineyard, orchard or field individually, and on the scale of massive industrial farming, optimizing yields and producing more output with less input.”

Cambridge Consultants notes that Mamut’s ability to perform simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM), which allows the robot to react and learn from unstructured routes in real time, was developed during navigation trials through the twists and turns of a 12-acre maize maze at Skylark Garden Centre, and at Mackleapple’s orchard, both of which are located in Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom.