Salah Sukkarieh is Australia’s robotic rock star in agriculture and will be a part of an invigorating discussion panel at the NFF National Congress 2018.
Mr Sukkarieh regularly works with Australian farmers to help grow crops in smarter and more effective ways using robotics.
AustralianFarmers spoke with Mr Sukkarieh to get an insight on what to expect at this year’s National Congress.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your profession.
I am the professor of Robotics and Intelligentsia Systems at the University of Sydney. I lead a large R&D group in mining and agriculture robotics. The team comprises researchers in machine learning, robotics and sensing, as well as mechatronics and software engineers.
Our research looks at a range of areas including making field robots smarter as well as complete autonomous operations.
What inspired you to go into your field and particularly focus on ag?
About a decade ago I was working on researching machine learning and sensing techniques on drones for environmental monitoring, and in particular weed detection to support environmental management.
I met a lot of growers and learnt about the difficulties they were facing in terms of labour, weeding and crop/animal intelligence. I embarked then on a mission of developing low cost robotic solutions to help growers for on-farm tasks.
Where is your work having impact?
There are two particular elements of impact – reducing input costs through automation (in particular labour, chemical, and maintenance costs), and increasing yield through digitisation of agronomy for the robot to act upon.
What are your greatest achievements?
We’ve been able to demonstrate a range robotic solutions on farm for large and small holder farmers, from row crops to grazing livestock.
My biggest achievement would be to help growers understand the technology development and the possibilities as well as begin the commercialisation process for some of our robotic solutions.
What can the guests at the National Congress expect from you as a speaker?
Guests will hear about our robotic solutions to date and some of the future areas we are venturing into.
The NFF National Congress 2018 will be held on 17 and 18 October at the Australian Institute of Sport, Canberra ACT.
For more information and tickets click here.