Catalyst: Feb 6

On tonight’s Catalyst, a group of pioneering scientists take their robots into the world of agriculture to see if they can help keep Australian farmers on the land by tackling some of their biggest challenges.

There’s a tech revolution unfolding in Australia – but it’s not happening where you might expect. A team of scientists led by internationally renowned roboticist, Professor Salah Sukkarieh, are opening up a new world of farming science; one that could give Australian farmers more control over their future than ever before. The need for greater productivity to feed a growing population, and changing climate conditions are making it hard for farmers to continue supplying the food on everyone’s plates. Added to this the loss of young blood from the industry – and one of the harshest natural environments on Earth – means Australian farmers are up against it. But help is at hand. Catalyst joins engineers from the Australian Centre for Field Robotics as they explore the world of agriculture to develop robots and create smarter ways of farming. But are these prototype robots up to the many tasks of a farmer? Will they change the way we’ve been farming for generations? Can the robots lead the farmers (and their cattle) to greener pastures?

Professor Salah Sukkarieh is an international expert in research, development, and commercialisation of field robotic systems. Salah is Associate Dean (Industry and Innovation) and Professor of Robotics and Intelligent Systems at the University of Sydney, and the Director of Research and Innovation at the Australian Centre for Field Robotics. He has over 500 academic and industry publications in robotics and intelligent systems, and was awarded the 2017 CSIRO Eureka Prize for Leadership in Innovation and Science.

8:30pm Tuesday on ABC.

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