Prospero is just a first step, and a very preliminary one. Even Dorhout isn't quite sure how the next phase will take shape. He envisions a planter like Prospero working side by side with other specialized 'bots: a tender robot that can maintain crops around the clock, monitoring for and combating pests and disease and ensuring soil conditions and moisture remain optimal, and a harvester that would only reap the crops plant-by-plant as they are ready, replacing today's wholesale harvesting methods that always lose some percentage of yield by harvesting too early or too late for some plants in the field. The idea of course is to integrate all of these into a single robotic system that can handle everything from planting to harvest, perhaps organized around a kind of shepherd robot that is responsible for overseeing the entire system and that the farmer could direct as he or she sees fit. After all, the idea here isn't to remove the human farmer from the system, but to make modern agriculture rise up to meet the demands of a growing global population. If that's going to happen, farming has to become smarter.