CIMAT: Catalyst for Innovative Mechatronics in Agricultural Technology
Increasing production costs in agriculture and horticulture are often being answered by scaling up and using increasingly heavy, task-specific machinery. Small and medium-sized farms have different needs, for small-scale and versatile agrorobots. Within this new Interreg Flanders-The Netherlands project we want to stimulate the development of such robots.
Farmers who focus on organic cultivation or on specific crops such as vegetables, (small) fruits or trees need such robots, hence the aim of the CIMAT project. In consultation with the sector we investigates the possibilities of, and stimulate the development of, small, multi-purpose robots for smaller farms.
Making agriculture more sustainable
In addition, agriculture must become more sustainable thus there is a strong movement to integrate agricultural activities into ecosystem management. This is manifested in minimal use of chemical plant protection products, minimizing soil compaction, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
CIMAT offers a direct solution for small-scale agricultural cultivation with the development of various system concepts and a prototype of a small, semi-autonomous tractor that is multi-purpose for various agricultural tasks. Innovative technologies such as electric propulsion, robotic systems and sensors are applied. The prototype can be used, for example, for mechanical weed control, sowing, no-till farming, fertilizing and harvesting crops.