The Japanese firm, Spread, is to open the world’s first automated farm with robots handling almost every step of the process, from watering seedlings to harvesting crops. The only part of the process that would require human input is seeding.
The farm, measuring about 4,400 square metres, will have floor-to-ceiling shelves where the produce is grown. The robots will also monitor levels of carbon dioxide in the air and adjust lighting and temperature to optimize growth. The use of LED lighting means energy costs will be slashed by almost a third, and about 98% per cent of the water needed to grow the crops will be recycled.
The indoor grow house will start operating by the middle of 2017 and produce 30,000 heads of lettuce a day. It hopes to boost that figure to half a million lettuce heads daily within five years.