Tree planting robot – next generation

The team behind a prototype automatic tree planting robot, from Canada’s University of Victoria, have developed a second generation of their TreeRover device. Better digging ability for tough soils has been a key improvement in the system. 

The initial design, created in 2015 by Iota Technologies co-founder Nick Birch, has developed into a commercially viable, autonomous or remote-controlled robot that could go up to hard-to-reach areas. 

One of the issues with the design was how the TreeRover, at the time, would use a pneumatic air system — with mixed results — to punch a young plant into the soil, with another arm patting down the soil afterwards.

The new design takes advantage of a spinning soil tiller, instead of the punch, that allows the machine to break apart tough soil before placing a plant into the hole. Birch said the next step was to include a new track system so the device can navigate tough terrain. The final product, he said, will likely be much larger than the prototypes — currently about the size of a lawn mower — to provide stability.

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Image Credit: Iota Technologies