SK Telecom commercializes IoT network-based autonomous rice transplanter for first time

Park Sae-jin Reporter Posted : 2019-05-15 15:16 Updated : 2019-05-15 16:01
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[Courtesy of SK Telecom]

SEOUL -- SK Telecom, South Korea's top mobile carrier, has partnered with Daedong, a top domestic agricultural machinery maker, to commercialize an autonomous rice transplanter which locates and guides itself around rice paddy fields using precision satellite positioning technology.

SK Telecom (SKT) said in a statement Wednesday that the company and Daedong have jointly developed an automatic rice-panting tractor using real-time kinematic technology (RKT), a precise satellite navigation technology that uses internet of things (IoT) and GPS.

The autonomous rice transplanter will help farmers reduce costs by carrying out multi-roles like planting rice seedlings and scattering fertilizer. Farmers can do other things and even unskilled farmers can professionally operate the self-driving transplanter thanks to pre-settings.

"Anyone can easily handle agricultural machines if they are combined with ICT and improve productivity," SKT's ICT research center head Park Jin-hyo was quoted as saying. Dadong CEO Ha Chang-wook said the new machine would be widely distributed soon as it received good feedback from farmers

In South Korea, many farmers use rice transplanters, a type of small tractors, but some do it manually mainly because rice-planting tractors are expensive. Sometimes farmers share a transplanter or hire a skilled tractor driver during the rice planting season.