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    Work by Harper Adams experts helps company secure top award for robotic innovation

    Posted 13 December 2023

    The Railscape team with their trophy at the 2023 Robotics and Innovation Awards

    The Railscape team with their trophy at the 2023 Robotics and Innovation Awards

    Work by experts at Harper Adams University has helped a specialist railway services provider secure a top award for robotic innovation.

    Railscape, based in Essex, were named as winners at the 2023 Robotics and Innovation Awards for their work on an Unmanned Precision Aerial Sprayer (UPAS). The sprayer is one of several drone services operated by the company, which works alongside the rail industry to provide environmental and arboricultural services.

    As the team at Railscape worked to develop their award-winning drone, they collaborated with experts at Harper Adams University to assess how the sprayer would work on site.

    Senior Lecturer and Researcher in Pesticide Applications at Harper Adams, Simon Cooper,  conducted spray drift assessments in the field to characterise the spray distribution of the in-house designed and built drone.

    He said: “I thoroughly enjoyed being involved in this pioneering work with Railscape and being part of bringing the idea to a commercial reality.”

    Simon’s research led to the granting of an experimental permit from the Chemical Regulation Division of the Health and Safety Executive – which, in turn, enabled Railscape to develop its operational procedures for spraying a pesticide from the drone in strictly controlled test conditions.

    Business Development Officer at Harper Adams University’s National Centre for Precision Farming, Lee Williams, was part of the team who helped oversee the ensure the collaboration between Railscape and the University.

    He said: “Working with Railscape’s team of highly professional staff including their in-house innovation team and the remote pilots in its commercial drone services operation was a great pleasure.

    “We are delighted to see their achievements recognised with the Robotics and Automation Award 2023 for Innovation in Agriculture. It is truly a well-deserved accolade.”

    Railscape Operations and Project Manager Ed Lewis added:” We're over the moon to announce that Railscape Ltd have just won the Innovation in Agriculture Award at the Robotics Automation Awards.

    “From being shortlisted in three categories to winning this prestigious award – what a journey it's been!

    “This award-winning collaboration highlights our commitment to advancing drone technology in agriculture.“

    And Head of Engineering at Harper Adams University, Parmjit Chima, said: “As a department – indeed, as a University – we are always keen to demonstrate the real-world impact of our applied research, and what better way to do that than to help assist an organisation on a pivotal and innovative project like this!

    “Congratulations to Railscape on their well-deserved award.”

    Our new BEng (Hons) in Robotics, Automation and Mechatronic Engineering is now open for 2024 entry - click here for more details.

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