Swarm Robots in Mechanized Agricultural Operations: Roadmap for Research
Agricultural mechanization is an area of knowledge that has evolved a lot over the past century, its main actors being agricultural tractors that, in 100 years, have increased their powers by 3,300%. This evolution has resulted in an exponential increase in the field capacity of such machines. However, it has also generated negative results such as excessive consumption of fossil fuel, excessive weight on the soil, very high operating costs, and millionaire acquisition value. This paper aims to present an antiparadigmatic alternative in this area. It is proposing a swarm of small electric robotic tractors that together have the same field capacity as a large tractor with an internal combustion engine. A comparison of costs and field capacity between a 270 kW tractor and a swarm of ten swarm tractors of 24 kW each was carried out. The result demonstrated a wide advantage for the small robot team. It was also proposed the preliminary design of an electric swarm robot tractor. Finally, research challenges were suggested to operationalize such a proposal, calling on the Brazilian Robotics Research Community to elaborate a roadmap for research in the area of swarm robot for mechanized agricultural operations.