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Use of AI-based robots on the rise in Japanese agriculture

24 Comments
By Keita Funaki

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24 Comments
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Sounds interesting indeed. Now, a robot to clean that mysterious dust off potatoes would be good. While every other vegetable is clean, potatoes are puzzlingly not. Is it to disguise the green ones?

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

The taste will fall.

-12 ( +1 / -13 )

It’s a move in the right direction. AI-based agri-robots could eventually replace technical trainees from China and Vietnam and end the modern slave labor.

-4 ( +6 / -10 )

Their logo is very similar to Avery Dennison. They may get sued.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Takamiya No Aisai is the first farm to lease one from Agrist and the robot checks the size of cucumbers based on images it captures from a camera mounted on the robot, recognizing ripe ones and cutting off one to three spheres roughly every two minutes before placing them in a case.

Cumbersome wording aside here, this sure seems to take an awful lot of time to pick and cut and place in a case.

How much do these robots cost? Reading this makes me think that these already overpriced cucumbers are going to go even higher because of increased overhead.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

I'm kind of amazed that, with all the problems in the world, someone decided to focus on cucumbers! I guess the Venn diagram of what the software could detect and what farmers would pay for yielded kuri!

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

Anything to avoid paying a human a wage.

-10 ( +9 / -19 )

Their logo is very similar to Avery Dennison. They may get sued.

Hankyu / Harrods, the list is just too long to post here.

Anything to avoid paying a human a wage.

Bring back lift operators!

Because this is how evolved human beings should spend their whole day for a living.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Was just thinking on the way to work this morning. What sort of cultural impact will the impending AI revolution have on the working culture of Japan? What will an AI enhanced hyper-efficient, hyper-productive landscape do to a culture that sleepily chugs along knowingly maintaining hyper-INefficient, hyper-UNproductive work practices? Where time wasting is an art form! Think about it.

If the predictions are true and we see the need for human labor, desk and paperwork drastically reduced ( to the point of next to zero within a generation or so ) what will the culture do to adapt and what could that even look like? The school system is still hell bent on churning out factory and office workers with a mindset of gambaruing for the sake of gambaruing. Be part of the system, a cog in the wheel, and the system will take care of you, that is the whole J social contract. What happens when they don’t need workers to be part of that system anymore, because they won’t. Hope I live long enough to see what it looks like. It’ll be absolutely fascinating to see how different cultures and nations reinvent themselves to move with the times. A we strolling towards a paradise of new found human freedom and creativity, or are we to be lost souls living in a mechanical dystopian nightmare, where no one has to be anyone or do anything.

Or something in between? What will our beloved Japan look like?

Daydream on that for a bit rockers.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The robot cuts the weeds,prepares fertilizers,sorts and hauls the produce etc?

No, I didn’t think so.

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

This is not AI. I wish companies and the media would stop calling it AI..

These autonomous robots are simply following programmed guidance (likely buried cable) and cameras. Any intelligence is programmed, not learned.

There are already autonomous drones that pick fruit from trees using colors and sensors that can determine the rigidity and even the sugar concentration, then place them into crates undamaged. Then do it again, even in the dark.

What you’re seeing in the article is two generations ago as far as possibilities and current realities.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Promising.

With the shrinking of the Japanese workforce year by year - and realistically almost zero unemployment - AI, robots and drones will be key to support the booming Japanese agriculture industry.

AI can determine what fertiluzer and pesticides are needed, robots can water, plant and cut the crops, drones can transport the fresh produce to market.

Win-win.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

The robot cuts the weeds,prepares fertilizers,sorts and hauls the produce etc?

No, I didn’t think so.

The robots can make single tasks much easier, that is enough to be of possible benefit (depending on other factors). The problem is people that think a robot can only be useful if it can replace a human, but that is not necessary if it can efficiently perform one task that means the person can focus on the many other tasks necessary for their job.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

While every other vegetable is clean, potatoes are puzzlingly not. Is it to disguise the green ones.

Really? Red, White Rose and Yukon Gold potatos have smooth clean skins. It is only Russet potatos that have rough skins that hold the dirt. Asian yams too.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Science Fiction is not science fact.

There’s a lot more to agriculture than a robot trundling up and down rows.

The problem with Japanese agriculture at present is that there aren’t enough people in the fields and no amount of mechanical machines can remedy that

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

I’d be interested to hear from anyone that was on a farm doing fieldwork as I am

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

This is a great use of technology.

Agriculture is notoriously hard, back-breaking work, and the amount of people willing to do it is falling all the time, so anything to lessen the load is very welcome. It's nice to see a positive story on AI, rather than the usual deepfakes and oppression stuff.

Starting with the Netherlands, which is an agri-food powerhouse, Inaho hopes to export its smart agriculture technology around the world.

I hope (and expect) that JICA will assist in exporting this technology to developing countries, not just rich countries. Japan could really help them improve their agriculture, and people's lives.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Red, White Rose and Yukon Gold potatos have smooth clean skins. It is only Russet potatos that have rough skins that hold the dirt.

In most of Japan, your choice is danshaku or mayqueen. They often come dusted with something that is not really dirt - it is not stuck on hard haphazardly like potatoes that grow in fields - but it is almost always the same consistency.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I’d like to see supermarkets grow local produce on their roofs. That would be so cool.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Don't forget the malfunctioning machine in S Korea that crushed a man to death last week!!!

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

The problem with Japanese agriculture at present is that there aren’t enough people in the fields and no amount of mechanical machines can remedy that

Because the availability of immigrant labor to pick crops is always uncertain UC Davis has developed machines that can plant and harvest most crops. During the Covid-19 pandemic many of these machines started to be employed by farms in California. Rice growing in California has been mechanized for decades. The fields are machine leveled, the seeds planted by aircraft and the mature rice harvested mechanically.

Indoor vertical farming offers the opportunity to automate a great deal of agriculture.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Well done Japan.. This is the future..

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Japan is still 5 years behind in ag tech and it tech, that is a long, long distance. These AI assisted robots for tomato greenhouses are not new.

Japan is not anywhere close to being at the front of innovation and efficiency in agriculture. There is 1 greenhouse in Kentucky that is bigger than 50 American sized football fields that has been using robot pickers for a few years. Japan needs to go big; eliminate JA, bring the efficiencies of the free market to the entire agri-food industry in Japan.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

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