Tuesday, March 5, 2024

World’s most remote robot helps automate Amazon’s reforestation project

ABB Robotics, in collaboration with US non-profit organization Junglekeepers, has developed a pilot project to demonstrate the role Cloud technology can play in making reforestation faster, more efficient, and scalable.

Junglekeepers is on a mission to protect 55,000 acres of Amazon rainforest and reverse deforestation. In a first-of-its-kind demonstration, ABB’s cobot YuMi is automating planting tasks in a jungle laboratory in a remote region of the Peruvian Amazon, speeding the process and allowing Junglekeepers’ volunteers to focus their valuable time and resources on more impactful work.

Using ABB RobotStudio Cloud technology, ABB experts simulate, refine, and deploy the programming required for YuMi’s tasks in the jungle from 12,000 km (7,460 miles) away, Västerås, Sweden – enabling the world’s most remote robot.

“Our pilot program with the world’s most remote robot is helping automate highly repetitive tasks, freeing up rangers to undertake more important work out in the rainforest and helping them to conserve the land they live on,” said Sami Atiya, President of ABB Robotics and Discrete Automation.

YuMi cobot tends to seed bags in the Junglekeepers base station.
YuMi cobot tends to seed bags in the Junglekeepers base station. Credit: ABB Robotics

The YuMi cobot has been installed in a jungle lab to automate essential tasks in the speed planting process, usually an entirely manual effort. The cobot digs a hole in the soil, drops the seed in, compacts the soil on top, and marks it with a color-coded tag. With YuMi, Junglekeepers is able to replant an area the size of two soccer fields every day in zones requiring reforestation.

“As of right now, we have lost 20 percent of the total area of Amazon rainforest; without using technology today, conservation will be at a standstill,” said Moshin Kazmi, Co-Founder of Junglekeepers. “Having Yumi at our base is a great way to expose our rangers to new ways of doing things. It accelerates and expands our operations and advances our mission.”

It also overcomes the difficulty of finding people willing to stay and work in the distant jungle location. After its initial installation, YuMi can carry out its tasks autonomously, with remote technicians stepping in for troubleshooting as needed. In addition, Junglekeepers’ volunteers are able to focus their valuable time and resources on more impactful work, such as patrolling the area to deter illegal loggers, educating locals on the preservation of the rainforest, and planting mature saplings.

“ABB’s collaboration with Junglekeepers demonstrates how robotics and Cloud technology can play a central role in fighting deforestation as one of the major contributors to climate change,” said Sami Atiya, President of ABB Robotics and Discrete Automation. “Our pilot program with the world’s most remote robot is helping automate highly repetitive tasks, freeing up rangers to undertake more important work out in the rainforest and helping them to conserve the land they live on.”

The pilot scheme in the rainforest with RobotStudio Cloud and YuMi will last for approximately six weeks, across May and June 2023. After the program wraps up, ABB will explore opportunities to assist Junglekeepers on a more extended basis as well as explore further opportunities for its robotic solutions and cloud technologies to play a central role in driving sustainable transformation.