Multi-stakeholder perspectives on field crop robots: lessons from four case areas in Europe

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Agriculture has now opened its door to robotic and automated applications including in primary production. This study presents perspectives of several stakeholder groups regarding use of robots in field crop operations, with a focus on expectations and concerns. Data was collected through farmer surveys from four case areas in Europe and interviews with non-farmer stakeholders (robot companies, researchers, project site managers, public authorities and environmental conservation societies). Farmers expect farming robots to provide several benefits primarily reduction in labor cost and environmental impact accompanied by profit increase. Their major concerns relate to investment cost, safety, reliability and adaptability to small farm sizes. Non-farmer stakeholders emphasize on opportunities related to sustainability and green transition of farming, co-design of solutions based on available tools, and new business opportunities. Concerns about risk of moving the farmer away from what is traditionally farming, job polarization, data ownership, cyber security, and legislation appear to be pronounced by the non-farmer stakeholders relative to farmer respondents. These call for co-design of solutions considering the priority needs, challenges, concerns, ideas, and expertise of the different stakeholders. Mutually rewarding and sustainable solutions for robotic applications in agriculture can only be imagined with predictable and reliable developments in institutional infrastructure governing safety, data ownership and security, accountability, competition, and sharing of costs and benefits.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100143
JournalSmart Agricultural Technology
Volume4
Number of pages9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Author(s)

    Research areas

  • concern, European agriculture, expectation, field crop robot, labor shortage, sustainability

ID: 332995747