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Robot Foresters Could Plant Thousands of Trees a Day


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Mock-ups of the new robots.

A pair of autonomous robot foresters are planting trees in Estonia.

Credit: Milrem Robotics

Two types of autonomous robot foresters developed by Estonia's University of Tartu and robot manufacturer Milrem are planting trees from Milrem's driverless ground vehicles.

One robot, a planter that carries more than 300 seedlings in one batch, can plant a hectare (about 2.5 acres) of new forest in five to six hours, while recording the exact location of each new tree so the other robot, a brush cutter, can trim vegetation around seedlings.

The robots’ navigation uses laser-based LiDAR, cameras, and global positioning systems, with LiDAR producing a three-dimensional geometric representation of the environment (and high-resolution camera images fill in the blanks).

Andrew Davidson at the U.K.'s Imperial College London said, "This is one of many interesting applications ... which show that mobile robotics technology is maturing fast and enabling robots to tackle new types of task in difficult environments."

From New Scientist
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