Kyoto: A Japanese firm plans to open the world's first fully automated, human-free farm – which means robots will do almost every job from watering seedlings to harvesting crops.
Spread, a Kyoto-based company said it intends to start operating the farm by 2017 with an entire staff of robots and produce 30,000 heads of lettuce a day.
The firm also hopes to boost that figure to half a million lettuce heads daily within five years.
While the future of farming is going to be all about robots, humans are still going to play one important role in the process - the seed planting.
"Seed planting will still be done by people, but the rest of the process, including harvesting, will be done (by industrial robots)," company official Koji Morisada told AFP.
Spread believes that the move would chop personnel costs by about half and knock energy expenses down by nearly one third.
The pesticide-free lettuce will also have more beta carotene than other farm-grown lettuce, the company said.
Robot-obsessed Japan has repeatedly turned to automated workers to fill labour shortages that are projected to get worse as the country rapidly ages.
The farm, measuring about 4,400 square metres (47,300 square feet), will have floor-to-ceiling shelves where the produce is grown.
(With AFP inputs)