Predicting when introduction of robotics in agricultural leads to whole-system changes


Automation in arable farming is useful for reducing labor requirements (specialty crops) and for increased efficiency of major resources of land, water, fertilizer, and fuel (broadacre crops).  In some cases, automation has high market penetration, but has little effect on the farming system beyond the tools it replaced.  In other cases, automation leads to complete changes in the cropping system, leaving few inputs and outputs unaffected.  In this talk, we explore both ground-based and aerial robotics in agriculture and develop a framework, using the Buckingham Pi Theorem, for predicting when the introduction of robotics will lead to high impacts on the cropping system.



Clay Mitchell is Co-Founder and Managing Director of Fall Line Capital, an investment firm focused on both farmland and venture. Mr. Mitchell is a fifth-generation Iowa farmer known for leadership in soil conservation and technology.  Mr. Mitchell has an SB in Biomedical Engineering from Harvard College and a Masters in Agronomy from Cornell University, where he was a Saltonstall Fellow in Agronomy.