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Growbots promise to transform Australian agriculture

A robot nicknamed the "Ladybird" automatically sprays herbicides and fertilizers.(Photo courtesy of the University of Sydney's Australian Center for Field Robotics)

SYDNEY -- Australia is 20 times the size of Japan, but has just a fifth of its population. To make use of this vast land for large-scale agriculture and mining, the support of robotics will be increasingly important. That is why, in 1997, the University of Sydney created the Australian Center for Field Robotics -- home to 120 researchers engaged in such fields as computer science, mechanical and electrical engineering, and math. Few institutions match the scale of the center's operations in field robotics, the study of robotics for outdoor use.  

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