Robots are restoring the Amazon rainforest

Harnessing automation for reforestation: a tale of machines, people, and the environment

Technology is stepping up to address one of the most pressing issues of our time – deforestation. ABB Robotics and US non-profit organization Junglekeepers have joined forces to demonstrate the potential of robotics and Cloud technology in accelerating reforestation efforts in the Amazon. With the use of the world’s most remote robot, the venture is set to make a significant impact.

“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.”

Sami Atiya, President of ABB Robotics and Discrete Automation

Robot in the jungle

ABB’s YuMi, a cobot (collaborative robot), has been installed in a remote jungle laboratory in the Peruvian Amazon. Tasked with automating seed planting, a typically manual process, YuMi has been revolutionizing reforestation efforts. The cobot digs a hole in the soil, drops in a seed, compacts the soil, and marks the area with a color-coded tag, all autonomously.

Faster, scalable reforestation

Thanks to YuMi, Junglekeepers can replant an area the size of two soccer fields every day in zones requiring reforestation. The automation of this process allows volunteers to dedicate their time and resources to impactful tasks like patrolling areas to deter illegal loggers, educating locals on rainforest preservation, and planting mature saplings.

Addressing the challenges of remote conservation

The fully autonomous cobot installation addresses the difficulty of finding people willing to stay and work in the distant jungle location. Following initial installation, YuMi carries out its tasks autonomously, requiring human intervention only for troubleshooting.

Remote programming via Cloud technology

ABB’s RobotStudio Cloud technology has been integral to the project. It allows ABB experts to simulate, refine, and deploy the programming for YuMi’s tasks from as far as 12,000 kms away in Västerås, Sweden. This technology has enabled a new level of remote programming flexibility, resilience, and efficiency.

YuMi’s specifications

YuMi operates entirely on solar power, making it an environmentally friendly solution for this task. It is programmed and managed through RobotStudio Cloud technology, which boasts over 25 years of offline programming experience. This digital technology guarantees a 99 percent accuracy rate between simulation and reality. YuMi’s programming allows for 50 percent less time spent on testing robotic solutions and reduces production downtimes to zero.

Reflections on the future of reforestation

If we are to stem the tide of deforestation and climate change, innovative and sustainable solutions like those provided by ABB Robotics and Junglekeepers will be essential. The fusion of robotics, cloud technology, and conservation efforts paints a hopeful picture for the future of reforestation and the restoration of the Amazon rainforest. With more collaborative projects and ventures of this nature, the long-term effects of deforestation can potentially be mitigated and reversed, one seed at a time.


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