Robotics and labour in agriculture. A context consideration

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Over the last century, agriculture transformed from a labour-intensive industry towards mechanisation and power-intensive production systems, while over the last 15 years agricultural industry has started to digitise. Through this transformation there was a continuous labour outflow from agriculture, mainly from standardized tasks within production process. Robots and artificial intelligence can now be used to conduct non-standardised tasks (e.g. fruit picking, selective weeding, crop sensing) previously reserved for human workers and at economically feasible costs. As a consequence, automation is no longer restricted to standardized tasks within agricultural production (e.g. ploughing, combine harvesting). In addition, many job roles in agriculture may be augmented but not replaced by robots. Robots in many instances will work collaboratively with humans. This new robotic ecosystem creates complex ethical, legislative and social impacts. A key question, we consider here, is what are the short and mid-term effects of robotised agriculture on sector jobs and employment? The presented work outlines the conditions, constraints, and inherent relationships between labour input and technology input in bio-production, as well as, provides the procedural framework and research design to be followed in order to evaluate the effect of adoption automation and robotics in agriculture.

TidsskriftBiosystems Engineering
Sider (fra-til)111-121
Antal sider11
StatusUdgivet - aug. 2019

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