The BSI, the British Standards Institution, are tasked by Government with facilitating and implementing standards for UK businesses and are currently working to compile standards for the use of crop robots.
Summary: In this lunchtime presentation, BSI will share information and answer questions about the current development of a new national standard for crop robot use and explain how the use of a standard on crop robots could help disseminate knowledge, raise profile and credibility and lead to growth and cohesiveness in the market.
Background: As you know, in the future, most UK farmers will probably use robots and other automation, just as most of them now use tractors – an industry developing agricultural robots and autonomous equipment in the UK will also hope to find an export market (as in the past, the UK was a major farm equipment net exporter).
For crop robot research and development, the design standards are mature, but, until now, there is no Code of Practice (CoP) for the use of crop robots in the United Kingdom.
This could inhibit the adoption of crop robots by farmers and the development of a crop robot manufacturing industry. For example, there could be reluctance to buy robots or hire robot services because the manner in which robots are to be used is unfamiliar. There may also be concerns over legality, health & safety and cost.
BSI, as the National Standards Body for the UK, has researched this topic in some depth with key experts in the field (including members from IAgrE, academics, researchers, regulators and other industry and consumer representatives) and has concluded that there is a good case to develop a national standard with expert participation from these stakeholders.
It is believed that a crop robot CoP standard could benefit processors, consumers, and users of the rural landscape as well as farmers. Also, a pro-active agreement among key stakeholders on a standard is likely to be a more robust and preferable option in place of legislation similar to those currently in force in the EU and US state of California.
In short, a crop robot code of practice standard is needed in the UK to reduce uncertainties, help farmers take advantage of the technology, and facilitate the development of a crop robot manufacturing sector.
Call to action: BSI and IAgrE would welcome your involvement in the development of this new Code of Practice Standard for the use of crop robots, and hope that you will share your input, knowledge and expertise to develop a standard that will bring benefit to the industry and its stakeholders.