Robots Are Future Farmers of America: Professor

Tuesday, 1 May 2012 | 5:19 PM ET

Robots are the way of the future and will be used for everything from farming to delivering packages, MIT professor Mary "Missy" Cummings told the Wired Business Conference on Tuesday.

Whether it is a UAV/drone \(unmanned aerial vehicle\) or a robotic tractor, it won't be long before people are seeing more of these robots, said Cummings, a professor in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

"We are going to see UAVs in our everyday life," Cummings said.

One of the earlier adopters of UAVs will be cargo planes, she said.

"The expectation is, in the future, that FedEx , UPS , these cargo planes will become UAVs faster than we all realize, but it won't happen in this country first because of our regulatory problems, it's going to happen over seas. Then, I think once we get shamed a little bit in terms of other countries making more money than us in this area, we'll jump into that game," Cummings said.

Another area primed for robotics is the farming industry. Farmers cannot find enough people to do the the field work, so crop dusting has become and up and coming technologies.

There are currently robot tractors and robot helicopters that exist that can coordinate and perform harvesting and crop dusting without humans, and this technology is ready to be adopted whenever a business model is figured out, Cummings said.

"The technology is pretty much ready to go. ... I think it's just making the connection to the business model. ... I think we are there, we are on the cusp of that, but we just need the business model," Cummings said.

Cummings estimates though that it will be about one to three years when these types of robotic farming equipment will be in use.

email: tech@cnbc.com

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