Unmanned Systems Technology 038 l Skyeton Raybird-3 l Data storage l Sea-Kit X-Class USV l USVs insight l Spectronik PEM fuel cells l Blue White Robotics UVIO l Antennas l AUVSI Xponential Virtual 2021 report

70 T he agricultural market has been approached repeatedly by unmanned systems developers offering solutions to help farmers improve the health and productivity of their fields. These solutions have often been UAVs carrying IR sensors tuned for detecting water stress, blight and other threats to crops, although over the past few years newer solutions such as autonomous tractors and sprayer UAVs have emerged. Despite these many high-end solutions being tested and proven to enable significant productivity improvements on farms, their uptake by farmers has generally remained quite low. The main reason is that farmers have little interest in learning new engineering skills alongside all the other machinery and vehicles they have to operate and maintain. Blue White Robotics is acutely aware of that reluctance, so it has sought to overcome the learning barrier between growers and unmanned systems by using autonomy and connectivity to greatly simplify the operations and inputs required of farmers. The company not only produces autonomy kits, it essentially automates entire farms. Although the integrated solutions, subsystems and exact vehicle models will vary between farms, crops and geographical regions, its business model and operating processes typically involve a number of key steps. First the company identifies the most suitable components for a grower from its portfolio of systems for navigation, perception, control, comms and data processing. These are integrated into the growers’ tractors, then missions and behaviours are programmed in, and a command console can be handed to the farmer for selecting the work they want performed. Alternatively, a Blue White engineer can operate the systems, with the overall control station, autonomous farm vehicles and connectivity being referred to as the BlueWhite Platform. “Our systems provide a solution for labour shortages. There’s a particular need for this right now, in no small part owing to the pandemic,” says Adam Fine, business development manager at Blue White Robotics. “We’re based in Israel, but we visited Rory Jackson explains how this company tailors automation systems to different farms to address labour shortages in the sector Farm labourers June/July 2021 | Unmanned Systems Technology Blue White Robotics equips tractors and fields with systems for autonomous control, navigation and comms (Images courtesy of Blue White Robotics)