Engineering students at the University of Victoria, Nick Birch, 29, and Tyler Rhodes, 22, have combined their love for the outdoors with a passion for electronics in the creation of TreeRover, the tree-planting robot. The crowd-funded prototype uses compressed air in a pneumatic system to plant seedlings autonomously.
Climate change, the suppression of natural wildfires, poorly planned logging roads, and urbanisation has led to the degradation of forests around the world. Birch and Tyler propose a solution in an autonomous, mechanised tree-planting system.
The go-cart sized TreeRover is battery powered and holds ten seedlings in its current form. It plants the seedlings using a hollow spike that punches into the ground. The nose of the spike opens a cavity in the earth that allows the seedling to drop down. A secondary piston packs in the dirt around the seedling.
The pair ended a successful crowd-funding campaign in September, aimed at furthering the device’s development. In the future, they hope to scale up the project by incorporating GPS direction. "Ideally, we'd like to have something down the road that's the size of a small vehicle," Birch told the Vancouver Sun.