Shropshire, United Kingdom, 6 September 2018
Small Robot Company, a British agritech start-up for sustainable farming, today announced that it has partnered with the National Farmers Union (NFU) on its Farmvention initiative. The competition aims to get primary school children engaging with key topics such as science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) by designing and creating their own food and farming products.1
Small Robot Company harnesses the power and precision of robots and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to improve the way that food is produced use plant protection products more efficiently. It will make farms more profitable, and increase yield and efficiency, through using small robots instead of tractors.
The NFU’s national competition for primary schools is officially opening today, and schools can now submit their applications for the chance of having their school turned into a farm for a day.
Fifty school children and their teachers who took part in the pilot project will attend the launch of the competition at Birmingham’s ThinkTank Museum, where they will take on the challenge of creating their own tractor of the future and designing and preparing a seasonal snack to take home.
“Sustainable food production in the face of a growing global population is one of the biggest challenges facing mankind today. Solving current environmental issues around farming with tractors is a priority here,” says Ben Scott-Robinson, co-founder, Small Robot Company. “Farmvention will stimulate children to take a practical look at this problem, and apply their ingenuity. It’s a brilliant concept and a hands on chance to learn all about food production. We’ll then help the winners take their dream towards reality, working with the next generation to transform farming for our future.”
NFU President Minette Batters will officially open the competition. She said: “Farmvention brings real life farming situations into the classroom and it’s fantastic to see so many young people getting involved.
“Food and farming is inextricably linked to STEM subjects and the NFU’s competition offers a rare chance for children to put this learning into practice in a new and exciting way.
“As an industry it is important to us that children know about where their food comes from. Farmvention is a fantastic opportunity to develop their education and problem solving skills at the same time as learning about food production and the challenges farmers face every day.”
Finalists will be invited to present their designs at the House of Commons during British Science and Engineering Week, where the winning school will be announced.
Notes to Editors:
1. The three challenges to choose from are:
Design a tractor of the future
Design an environment for a flock of 100 laying hens
Design a new snack product that uses one or more of the following four British foods; milk,beef, beetroot or oats
· Each challenge is supported by curriculum linked resources which the NFU created in partnership with the Association for Science Education (ASE).
· Other prizes for shortlisted schools include:
An innovation workshop with Small Robot Company
Fully funded farm visits
£600 to spend on robotics products for the school
Class packs of data loggers
Chef visits to the school
· Applications close on 21 December 2018.
About Small Robot Company
We are a group of farmers, engineers, scientists and service designers with a deep knowledge farming, robotics, AI and service design. Our technology builds on 15 years’ research by Professor Simon Blackmore, the world’s leading expert in precision farming at Harper Adams university. We are dedicated to building technology that will make farming profitable, more efficient and more environmentally friendly. We are building a farming service designed by farmers for farmers that uses robotics and AI to deliver this dream.
We have been developing our hardware, software and service offering throughout 2017. Our first prototype robot has been built and is successfully working. Field trials are currently in progress in farms in Shropshire and Hampshire. We are currently building the world’s most detailed living data model for our Neural Network to exploit. The initial focus for our service is arable crops. Our first customers are signed up to use our services from October 2018.
On behalf of Small Robot Company
On behalf of NFU