The number of people on Earth is constantly increasing, which poses many challenges to the supply of food and water. Precision agriculture and an intelligent farm are needed to feed a growing number of people.
Agriculture is a fundamental sector vital to the existence of all humankind. We have already embarked on a new industrial revolution and automated systems have proven their effectiveness compared to manual labor, especially when it comes to IOGRU developments. How are technologies changing agriculture, and what new changes will they bring in the future?
A new generation farm – what is it like?
It’s a farm that incorporates the latest scientific and technological developments, as well as the chemical industry, in the production of highly efficient fertilizers. Thanks to the latest irrigation and planting technology, agriculture can advance far into the future. All modern and latest technologies are divided into three areas: automatic robots, unmanned aerial vehicles, and sensors and the Internet.
Automation and robots on the farm
Automation and the replacement of human labor is a major trend in many industries. Most work in agriculture is labor-intensive and requires considerable effort. At the same time, most of the work consists of monotonous and repetitive actions, which are quite possible to automate. Robots, which will increasingly appear on farms, can produce much more at a better quality.
Tractors are the main working tools on a farm. They are used to perform a lot of work. They will become the very first machines to be retrofitted with the latest technology.
In the beginning, it’ll be impossible to do completely without a human. It will be necessary to draw up field maps, optimize their processing programs, and to repair and maintain equipment. The tractor will become autonomous in its operation, thanks to the machine vision cameras. Radars will help in avoiding collisions with objects, GPS navigation will allow you to navigate large areas freely. All these elements will reduce the involvement of humans. And it will be possible to use tractors around the clock without people.
Seed sowing can also be automated and optimized. For example, seeds can be planted at a strictly defined depth and maintain a predetermined distance between them. Special sowing equipment improves sowing quality and yields. In the future, all these systems will be connected via the Internet. It’ll be up to a person to control them via personal computer or tablet. IOGRU already allows you to control all your crops through the IOGRU CLOUD system, which allows our customers to feel like they are at the forefront of the agricultural industry and the first to enter the Industrial 4.0 era.
Automation of irrigation and watering systems (SDI) or underground drip irrigation – allows farmers to control the amount of water received by their crops. This system frees a person from the constant checking of pumps, sensors, and filters, as well as their transmission lines. Special sensors located around the fields monitor soil moisture 24 hours a day. And all data is transmitted wirelessly via the Internet to a computer or tablet. Here, the only thing left for a person to do is to supervise.
This technology has already proven its effectiveness. Automation of irrigation not only reduces the amount of water consumed, but also its quality.
Weeding and crop care
Weeding and pest control, suitable especially for robots. Such prototypes of autonomous robots are already being developed by Bonirob of Deepfield Robotics, as well as an automated cultivator under the UC Davis Smart Farm research initiative automation program. The Bonirob robot can move independently in a field. It uses a self-learning program to recognize weeds that need to be removed from the field.
The development of programs and the use of artificial intelligence completely relieves people of the tedious task of weeding beds by hand. The machine at the University of California, Davis, has a fundamentally different concept for distinguishing weeds from cultivated plants. It relies on the seeds being planted with a fluorescent dye that remains on young plants. On this basis, the robot’s video cameras can distinguish cultivated plants from weed parasites. And thus, the time-consuming process of plant weeding can be automated. The same robot can also be equipped with a sprayer to apply insecticides against bug pests.
Harvesting from a field, tree and grapevine
Fruit tree, field, and vine harvesting robots are already under development. Their principle of operation is similar to robots for weeding and removing insects. Thanks to video cameras, robots are able to identify fruit and vegetables to be harvested and determine their level of maturity. These robots can also collect fruits and berries very carefully, without damaging them. These robots, with their advanced mechanics and artificial intelligence, are a thing of the near future.