Agriculture is a critical industry for mankind – as our population continues to grow, it is vital for us to develop an efficient industry that produces sufficient healthy food that no-one needs to go hungry. With serious concerns about the nutritional content of the topsoil needed for food production and their own economic survival, farmers have already been using advanced (and in some parts of the world, simple) technology for several years to improve crop yields and field maintenance, using the umbrella term, Precision Farming. The main technologies in use are high precision positioning systems, automated steering systems, geomapping, sensors and remote sensing, integrated communication systems, and variable rate technology. In terms of the technologies we are tracking, this includes AI, autonomous vehicles, and drones. Get more details
As the availability of human labors on farms is becoming increasingly limited, the productivity provided by technology rarely involves actual job loss. The exception being crop picking, which traditionally has been provided by migrant workers.
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Drones help plant the smart seeds for forest recovery (Drone/Bees – 2018-11 – ZDNet)
Tiny drones replacing bees as pollinators (Drone/Bees – 2018-03 – TechRepublic)
UK farmers can use this soft robot to help with crop picking (Robotics/Farmwork – 2018-03 – ZDNet)
Use of robotics to handle labour shortage on the farm (Robotics/Farmwork&Bees – 2018-03 – TechRepublic)
Drone technologies could increase farmers’ productivity by 500 percent (Drone/Farming – 2018-02 – TechRepublic)
Using robots to develop drought-resistant corn crops (Robotics – 2018-01 – ZDNet)
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Robots take over farms faster than expected through autonomous equipment start-ups (Farming/Robotics - 2019-05 - The Independent)
Robots are taking over farms faster than expected as the first fully autonomous farm equipment is becoming commercially available. Autonomous tractors with specialized equipment will spray, plant, plow and weed cropland. They are much more precise, saving major costs.
Robotic apple picker trials continue in Washington (Apple Picking/Robotics - 2019-05 - Geekwire)
For the first time, some apples sold in the U.S. will be picked by a robot rather than humans. California start-up, Abundant Robotics, makes the apple harvesting machines that will be trialled in Washington State’s 2019 harvest, with an expectation of commercial availability in 2021. The robot moves down rows of orchards, using AI and LIDAR to search for ripe apples, and a robotic arm with a vacuum to gently suck the apples and deposit them into a bin.
A robot apple-picker is now harvesting fruit in New Zealand orchards (Fruitpicking/Robotics - 2019-04 - MIT Technology Review)
One of New Zealand’s largest food producers, T&G Global, has been working with US startup Abundant Robotics to create a robot that picks fruit when ripe for picking. The robot uses lidar to navigate the rows between the trees, and machine vision to identify which apples are ripe and which aren’t. It then uses a vacuum to gently “suck” apples off the trees.
IBM completes blockchain trial tracking a 28-ton shipment of oranges (Supply Chain - 2019-02 - Coinbase)
IBM has completed a trial of blockchain technology to track a shipment of 3,000 cartons of mandarin oranges from China to Singapore. The electronic bill of lading was recorded on a blockchain. The normal time of 5-7 days was eliminated, providing traceable and tamper-proof record storage, where 40% fraud involves documentation.
How self-driving tractors, AI, and precision agriculture will save us from the impending food crisis (Agriculture- 2018-12 - ZdNet)
First autonomous robotic farm in the US opens (Agriculture/Hydroponics- 2018 -10 - MIT Technology Review)
Software that optimizes seed selection, reduces fertilizer use, and detects early signs of disease is revolutionizing agriculture (Agriculture/Productivity- 2018-09 - MIT Technology Review)
Harvesting marijuana with robots is hard (Agriculture/Marijuana- 2018-09 - ZDNet)
Robot picks nearly-ripe bell peppers (Agriculture/Vegetable Picking- 2018-09 - Wired)
AI-powered drones increase efficiency, reduce cost, spotting problems humans might miss (Agriculture - 2018-06 - TechRepublic)
Drones monitor construction sites, farms, and critical infrastructure, sending back real-time data, which is subjected to AI analysis to spot problems. This increases efficiency, reduces costs, and may spot problems humans might miss.
AI-powered weed hunters could soon reduce the need for herbicides and genetically modified crops (Robotics - 2018-05 - MIT Technology Review)
Tiny drones replacing bees as pollinators (Drones/Bees - 2018-03 - TechRepublic)
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev is developing a small, artificial bee, currently in the format of a drone. Some plants can pollinate, only if there’s enough wind. Some plants need a current location of the pollination onto the flower itself. We are currently creating enough wind.