AI farmer unveiled as Google prepares to replace humans with robots

An AI -powered robot farmer that can grow berries, plants and beans has been unveiled by Google.

The autonomous "plant buggy" has state-of-the-art computer systems that allow it to check and count every crop in a field.

It uses GPS software to mark plants that need human attention and uses weather data to predict how they'll grow.

The electric buggy comes with solar panels, cameras and sensors to measure the height, leaf area and fruit size of each crop.

It comes amid a shortage of farmers across the world and nearly four in ten in the UK over the age of 65, the Times reports.

X Development, which was founded by Google in 2010, unveiled the futuristic machine after trialing it in strawberry fields in California and soya bean fields in Illinois.

It is part of its Mineral project to create AI-powered robots that can help farmers manage the "staggering complexity of farming" and grow food sustainably around the world.

The Mineral team says its latest buggy combines its sensor data with satellite images, weather patterns and information on the soil.

This is fed into its artificial intelligence software to give farmers insights into how their crops are growing and how they are likely to grow.

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It is hoped this will allow farmers to carefully target individual plants need treatment avoiding the need to spray the whole field with pesticides unnecessarily.

Farmers could save money and reduce use of environmental harmful methods and make better decisions about "crop-threatening issues like pests, diseases or drought", according to the Mineral team.

It added: "Tracking how the plants are growing over time can help growers predict the size and yield of their crop, enabling them to make better yield projections."

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The team says it is working with farmers in the US, Canada, Argentina and South Africa.

Google is one of a number of companies in the "ag-tech" industry – which have seen farm drones and AI facial recognition for cows.

US tractor maker John Deere has said it's now a technology company after building a combine harvester that takes pictures as it works and detects subtle differences in the grain.

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