Farming has always been a difficult profession. To add to those tough levels, agriculture in hilly areas is a nightmare. However, such a situation is not uncommon in some of the areas of the United Kingdom. In order to overcome these hardships and reduce manual efforts, IBEX was born. The IBEX project was developed by a consortium of SMEs consisting of Hunshelf Hall Farm, Digital concepts Engineering and G32 Technologies, co-funded by AgriTech Catalyst of Innovate UK.
IBEX is one meter long and is fully autonomous all terrain vehicle. The caterpillar wheels help IBEX to conquer the tough territories and slopes of up to 45 degrees. IBEX is primarily used for destroying weeds. A high resolution on board camera and navigation systems help in detection of weeds. Images from the camera is utilized to observe condition of the plants and soil. Furthermore, a manual control is also possible due to the live streaming of the camera feed. These feature allows farmers to make suitable changes in a specific area whenever necessary.
Costing same as a normal ATV,it will be cheaper to farmers as compared to normal spraying costs. There can be multiple methods implemented on board to destroy the weeds. Based on the needs of the farmers, mechanical rotating cutters or a chemical sprayer can be mounted on the robot without much trouble.
The robot is still in testing stage at England’s Peak District. Though, it is currently used for weed killing , it can later be extended to applications like carrying or sowing seeds and plucking fruits etc.
“IBEX is the first agricultural robot designed to tackle extreme agricultural environments such as the Yorkshire hill farms,” said Dr Charles Fox, project manager of IBEX at Hunshelf Hall Farm.
Like the mini Tertill for your farms, IBEX can be a game changer for the farmers when it is finally ready to rock and roll.