Brazil robot helps farmers scout, spray and protect crops, developer says


By Reuters and published by Yahoo!Finance

Sao Paulo – Brazilian agriculture startup Solinftec plans to accelerate deliveries of its farming robot in Brazil and in the United States, CEO Britaldo Hernandez said in an interview, in a sign of growing demand for “precision agriculture” tools in two of the world’s largest food producers.

Sold at a price of $50,000, the Solix AG Robotics unit can scout crops and monitor development of individual plants, as well as target-spray herbicide to save costs.

Solinftec plans to deliver 40 units to customers this year and 250 next year in the US and Brazil, Hernandez said, up from 20 units delivered in 2022.

Solinftec says it can produce 1,600 units per year at two factories, one in Brazil and the other in the US.

The company says it is the first robot developed for large-scale farming. Like other precision-agriculture technologies such as drones and satellite imagery, the robot aims to help food producers avoid waste and use analytics to improve yields and engage in more sustainable production practices.

The machine, powered by artificial intelligence, includes a “hunter” feature that eliminates insects using light beams and electrical shocks, Hernandez said.

“If the robot can wander 24 hours, all year round on the property, it can understand and act on the farm’s entire ecosystem,” he said. “We wanted a robot that lived on the farm.”

Farmers in the US corn belt who tested the robot’s sprayer feature there cut herbicide use by up to 95% on average, Solinftec said.

Hernandez said the robot, which runs on solar power, can monitor all types of crops, including soy, corn, sugarcane, onions, potatoes and tomatoes.

Solinftec, backed by Brazil’s Trajano family, which owns the retail empire Magazine Luiza, says it has recurring revenues of $60 million annually.

Brazilian clients including sugar giant Raizen and grain behemoth Amaggi use Solinftec’s robot, Hernandez said. Some 300 clients have placed orders and currently await delivery, according to company disclosures.


Top and Front Page: Brazil robot helps farmers scout, spray and protect crops, developer says. File photos: Reuters and published by Yahoo!News

(Reporting by Ana Mano; Editing by Andy Sullivan)

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