Abb Robotics Amazon Reforestation Pilot Yu Mi Takes On Repetitive Task To Free Up Junglekeeper Ranger To Undertake More Value Add Tasks

"The world’s most remote robot" is automating an Amazon-reforestation project

June 15, 2023
Pilot project between ABB Robotics and non-profit organization Junglekeepers demonstrates potential of robotics and cloud technology in reversing deforestation.

A pilot project between ABB Robotics and US non-profit organization Junglekeepers is demonstrating the role cloud technology can play in making reforestation faster, more efficient and scalable.

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

Through ABB RobotStudio Cloud technology, ABB experts simulate, refine and deploy the programming required for YuMi’s tasks in the jungle from 7,460 miles away in Västerås, Sweden. ABB says this is the world’s most remotely controlled robot.

“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.”

In a jungle lab, located in a remote region of the Peruvian Amazon, a YuMi cobot has been installed to automate essential tasks in the seed-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. YuMi enables Junglekeepers to replant an area the size of two soccer fields every day in zones requiring reforestation.

At the same time, by automating this task, 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.

Creating a fully remote and autonomous cobot installation 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 only troubleshooting as needed.

“As of right now, we have lost 20% 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.”

The pilot project is supported by ABB’s RobotStudio cloud technology, enabling teams all over the world to collaborate in real time. This remote way of programming enables new levels of flexibility and instant refinement, resulting in greater efficiency and resilience, and no loss of planting time, per ABB. ABB Robotics’ pilot project in the Amazon furthers its objective to contribute to sustainable transformation through intelligent robotics and automation solutions, supporting businesses to increase productivity, reduce waste and maximize efficiency.