Suspended Manipulator

History


Our journey in agriculture started with floating robot. This was in response to the growing demand for labor in harvest season. The concept was designed initially to tackle sloped farms where existing tractors cannot operate, but it offers more:

-    Runs on solar power without CO2 emission
-    Doesn't compact the soil
-    Enables for more efficient use of the land
-    Covers large areas
-    Manipulates objects and transports goods
slope

Possible revolution ...


Farmers rely on tractors heavily. Some tasks are rapid and well suited for these machines, yet many can be done over time. Our robot is slower, but works all day long on solar power, also over night with extra batteries. At Floating Robotics, we develop various farming skills for robots. We believe precise manipulation in combination with the floating robot is a straight way to sustainable high-value crop production.

-    Reduce CO2 emissions
-    Save water by precise irrigation
-    Reduce health risks for farmers
-    Make horizontal farming competitive again

Floating robot is not a tool, but a skillful farm assistant.
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Radical design


Floating manipulator runs on cables above the plants. In comparison:

-    Drones shake the plants and operate shortly
-    Wheels compress the soil and slip on slopes
-    Legged robots are power-hungry and expensive

With four actuators only, Floaters stand on top of the list in terms of weight, energy, and simplicity of navigation. They are most suitable for repeated tasks in large but limited work spaces.

What's novel?


Cable-driven robots usually put winches outside to save weight. Our robot carries them onboard together with computers, batteries, and all other electronics. This makes it compact , portable, and easy to deploy. We have a pending patent on mechanical coupling of actuators to cut energy consumption  by 50%. Floating robots can locate themselves in any arbitrary installation using the onboard sensory equipment. In presence of perturbations, they stabilize passively with dampers when braked, and actively with adjusting cable lengths.

Installation


Cables are taken out of Floaters like a vacuum cleaner and installed within minutes. In outdoor environments, especially sloped farms, we install four poles at the corners of the field. In the case of larger areas, a grid of poles can be installed where the robot should be manually moved when it finishes tasks within one sub-grid. Floaters can also work inside structured areas like tunnel greenhouses, co-working spaces, warehouses, big halls, etc.

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