Elderly Japanese farmers eagerly anticipate the first mass-produced, lightweight farm robot XAG R150 to help their endeavours. The XAG R150 unmanned ground vehicle, launched in June, is designed as a response to Japan’s aging population and help with physically demanding tasks. The XAG R150 made its debut in an apple orchard of Takayama.
This move follows the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan’s Basic Plan for Food, Agriculture, and Rural Areas in 2020 to achieve smart agriculture for the next 10 years. The government has charted a roadmap for adopting digital technologies, such as robots and artificial intelligence, to drive new growth in its agricultural economy.
In April this year, XAG Japan hosted a demonstration to test the competency of XAG R150 using its on-board JetSprayer system to pollinate apple trees. The field trial was conducted in Village Takayama, Nagano Prefecture of Japan, and watched by experts from Japan Agricultural Cooperatives.
The idea of applying ground robots for fruit tree pollination was a bold attempt to cope with the pollination crisis. According to the estimate of Japanese government, the number of bee swarms in Japan has experienced a 40% reduction over the past nine years. The absence of important insect pollinators could cast a massive fruit yield reduction and cause fatal blow on the annual revenue of fruit farmers.