In recent decades, there have been considerable technological developments in the agriculture sector to automate manual processes for many factors, including increased production demand and in response to labor shortages/costs. We conducted a review of the literature to summarize the key advances from installing emerging technology and studies on robotics and automation to improve agricultural practices. The main objective of this review was to survey the scientific literature to identify the uses of these new technologies in agricultural practices focusing on new or reduced occupational safety risks affecting agriculture workers. We screened 3248 articles with the following criteria: (1) relevance of the title and abstract with occupational safety and health; (2) agriculture technologies/applications that were available in the United States; (3) written in English; and (4) published 2015-2020. We found 624 articles on crops and harvesting and 80 articles on livestock farming related to robotics and automated systems. Within livestock farming, most (78%) articles identified were related to dairy farms, and 56% of the articles indicated these farms were using robotics routinely. However, our review revealed gaps in how the technology has been evaluated to show the benefits or potential hazards to the safety and well-being of livestock owners/operators and workers.
Keywords: agriculture livestock; artificial intelligence; computer vision; occupational safety and health; robotics; sensors.