Photo: Trakur - Argentina's New Agricultural Robot
Although it may not be the most expensive or complex robot on the market, the new agricultural robot, Trakür, has impressed its owners with its reliability and reasonable price. Trakür, which in the indigenous Mapuche language means, ‘fog’ was designed to aid in promoting automation in Argentina’s agro-business market.
The robot according to the Smart Planet, was created by an engineering team at Argentina’s National Institute of Agricultural Technology, INTA, is designed to spray pesticides in greenhouses safely and as a result increase production of fruits, vegetables and flowers without putting workers at risk.
Trakür, designed for the small Argentine farmer, is also relatively small, only weighing about 90lbs without the battery installed. The robot resembles a toy truck with a tall pole which serves as the pesticide sprayer. With an inexpensive security camera strapped to the hood of the machine, the robot can be easily operated as well. All information is sent via a wireless transmitter, to keep the farmer up to date on the speed of the robot, the dose of pesticide being applied and the amount left inside the robot.
Project coordinator, Gerardo Masiá states to the Smart Planet, “The unique part of this robot is the guiding system. Instead of using lasers or cameras and algorithms or satellite GPS, this is guided by a cable that emits an electro-magnetic signal. You just have to lay out the route one time and the robot follows it. It’s very low cost because cable is very inexpensive and you can add sections or change the route whenever you like. And there’s no danger of electrocution or electric shock because only a low voltage passes through it.”
This inexpensive, practical design goes hand in hand with the Argentinean’s way of life after a history of economic collapses. Many are hesitant to spend too much money and operate from the mindset of the common phrase, “átalo con alambre,” which means, tie it with wire.