The next generation of farming is here — and it doesn’t involve humans.
Spread, a vegetable production company based in Japan, has announced plans to launch the first-ever robot-controlled farm in 2017. The company plans to change over their current lettuce farm in Kameoka, Japan in order to increase production size and rate.
Currently, the farm produces around 21,000 heads of lettuce per day. After the new robotic system is installed, Spread expects to increase that number to 50,000. As technology advances and additional systems are installed, the company hopes that the farm will be able to produce 500,000 heads within the next five years.
So how does this technology work?
According to Discovery News, large pre-programed robotic arms will handle the cultivation and harvesting from beginning to end. Currently, humans are still needed to plant the seeds, but that will likely be a job taken over by the robotic system within the next few years.
Spread hopes to cut down on labor costs and increase efficiency, which will also lead to lower lettuce prices at local supermarkets.
Company representatives made clear that their intention is not to remove humans completely from the process of farming, but to develop better technology and make younger generations more interested in agriculture. Only time will tell if Spread’s efforts are successful enough to bring this new method of farming to the United States.