Tracing its roots back to approximately 1,200 years ago, Indian agriculture boasts a long and storied history that originates with the Indus Valley Civilization. This evolution has been punctuated by transformative innovations, each revolutionising crop cultivation and harvesting. Agriculture, playing a pivotal role in human civilization, traditionally depended on manual labour and basic tools for harvesting. However, with increasing demand, the agricultural sector is turning towards technology, leading to an exciting evolution into the era of robotics farming. In this development, agricultural robots play a unique role, offering numerous advantages in farming production, and transforming operations into more efficient, precise, and sustainable endeavors.

Advent of Robotics

Initially, the foray into agricultural robotics involved the development of drones for crop monitoring. Robots now have a wide range of applications in agriculture and are used in various production areas, including tasks such as crop management. Agriculture robots can be categorised into three types based on application scenarios: fields, orchards, and farms. Agricultural production being a long-term cycle, involves crucial steps like seeding, planting, nurturing, harvesting, and processing, all of which are moving towards industrialization. The trend of using agricultural robots is expected to increase significantly to replace manual labor.

Advancements in agricultural robotics include the use of machine vision technology to identify crops and determine their readiness for harvest. This technology enables robots to perform various tasks like weed picking, growth monitoring, and sorting and packing. Satellite location systems, such as GPS, have also significantly advanced agricultural robotics, with robotic farm equipment often relying on GPS data for positioning on farms. Additionally, machine learning provides advanced methods for identifying collision paths.

Benefits of robotic harvesting

The global demand for agricultural products is growing at an unprecedented rate. It’s estimated that there will be a need for a 50 per cent increase in agricultural productivity over the next 30 years to feed the growing population. Agricultural harvesting robots are gaining popularity as they can achieve precise and well-planned production goals, even in complex and harsh environments. The incorporation of robotics in crop harvesting offers numerous benefits. Increased efficiency and productivity are notable, as robots can work tirelessly. Harvesting robots, designed for crops like fruits and vegetables, reduce labor costs and address labor shortages, which are crucial in an era of a dwindling agricultural workforce. Moreover, precision agriculture facilitated by robotics leads to less waste and higher crop quality, optimizing resource utilization.

Challenges and limitations

While technology has the potential to revolutionise the agricultural sector, a major challenge is the lack of technical knowledge among farmers for using technology-driven machinery. The widespread adoption of robotic harvesting faces challenges, including high costs, which can be prohibitive for small-scale farmers, and accessibility issues related to financial constraints and technical expertise. Technological limitations also exist in adapting robotics to various crop types and environmental conditions, requiring specialized robotic solutions and presenting challenges in navigation and harvesting precision.

The future of robotic harvesting

The use of agricultural robotics is steadily growing, and as the technology advances, its potential impact on farming practices is immense. These robotics are transforming farming by increasing efficiency, productivity, and sustainability. The future looks promising, with projected market growth and a focus on efficient and sustainable farming practices.


Innovation is vital in any sector, and it is particularly relevant in agriculture. Robotics in agriculture offers transformative benefits, enhancing productivity and sustainability. Robots have made significant inroads into agriculture, promising increased efficiency, higher yields, and more sustainable practices. While challenges remain, embracing technologies like robotics, machine learning, and computer vision will be key in the changing face of agriculture worldwide. The agricultural robotics industry is an emerging field with vast employment potential. The synergy between human expertise and robotic precision is key to a future where farming meets the demands of a growing population sustainably, efficiently, and with technological advancement. As robotics continues to evolve, it will likely remain a pivotal force in shaping the future of agriculture.

The author is Co- Founder & VP of Marketing & Solutions