Lincoln Agritech heralding workforce robots

June 2018

Robots that work alongside people in factories and unforgiving outdoors environments are an increasingly likely scenario. Photo: Lincoln Agritech.

Robots that work alongside people in factories and unforgiving outdoors environments are an increasingly likely scenario. Lincoln Agritech is helping to create this reality and is taking part in Robotic Spearhead, a $2 million project funded by the Science for Technological Innovation National Science Challenge examining how next-generation robots can work with humans in a safe and flexible manner.

“We will advance the science required for a new generation of industrial robotic solutions,” says Lincoln Agritech Group Manager in Precision Agriculture, Dr Armin Werner.

“These robots can provide enormous benefits to the primary and manufacturing sectors. Both industries require fast adaptation to different products and markets, and constant responsiveness to changing outdoor environments.

“The robots can assist with complex tasks such as pruning tree or vine crops, safely felling trees on steep slopes, or assembling small batches of appliances on demand.”

In an interview with The Record, Dr Werner said that it was easy for him to accept that robots will have a place in highly repetitive, monotonous and hard and dangerous work.

“In many industries that work is already undertaken by machinery, and it may well be that robotics will have an increasing role in ‘managing’ that machinery.

Such technology could become a global specialty of New Zealand robotics businesses, with great export opportunities and long-term solutions for the country’s economic needs.

The interdisciplinary research programme involves robotics experts from Lincoln Agritech and Scion, as well as researchers and PhD students from the universities of Auckland, Canterbury, Massey, Otago, Victoria and Waikato.

  1. To find out more about Lincoln Agritech’s role in New Zealand’s robotics programme please see:
  2. Lincoln Agritech takes a lead in robotic research, The Record, part one (6 June 2018): https://www.therecord.co.nz/news/4448-lincoln-agritech-takes-lead-robotic-research.html
  3. Robots no risk — researcher, The Record, part two (13 June 2018): https://www.therecord.co.nz/news/4493-robots-no-risk-researcher.html
  4. Don't fear the robots - they're not coming to devour our jobs, The NZ Herald (12 April 2018): http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=12026751
  5. Workforce robots on the horizon, Lincoln Agritech article: https://www.lincolnagritech.co.nz/news/workforce-robots-on-the-horizon/