Farm Automation Innovations-Future Agriculture
Farm automation, also associated with smart farming, is a technology that makes farms more productive and automates the crop or livestock production process. An increasing number of companies are working on robotic innovation to develop drones, autonomous tractors, robotic harvesters, automatic irrigation and seed robots. Although these technologies are relatively new, the industry has seen an increasing number of conventional agricultural companies are introducing agricultural automation in their operations.
Recent advances in technology ranging from robots and drones to computer vision applications have fully changed modern agriculture. The primary goal of farm automation systems is to perform simpler, more routine activities. Many of the main technologies most widely used by farms include: harvesting automation, automated tractors, weeding and weeding, and drones. Farm automation technology tackles major concerns such as growing global population, agricultural labor shortages, and increasing customer preferences. The advantages of automating conventional farming processes are significant in resolving problems such as consumer preferences, labor shortages and the environmental impact of farming.
However, before you can automate farm operations, you need reliable information on the condition of the farm. You will need a way for autonomous devices to connect to each other. It’s the world of the Internet of Things ( IoT). IoT devices are sensors, gauges and machines that are connected to a farm using Bluetooth, a cellular network, or some other form of communication. More IoT devices allow growers to gather more data on the condition of their farms, and IoT is showing great promise to automate resource distribution and drive precision agriculture to achieve maximum efficiency.
CropX, for example, is a company that installs soil sensors around the field to warn farmers when soil conditions are out of the ordinary. A farmer may be told that there is a lower level of moisture in a certain section of the field. In view of this knowledge in real time, the farmer has the ability to fix the problem (in irrigation systems) and to generate better quality and larger yield. Specific IoT sensor technology also has storage protection applications. OPI Systems sensors for silos and elevators, for example, monitor conditions and send warnings when heat or moisture can damage grain or when a fire is possible.
It’s not hard to see the importance of small, connected devices around the farm to improve productivity and health. It’s no wonder farmers have taken IoT so strongly. According to Business Insider, IoT facilities in agricultural settings are projected to grow at an annual compound rate of 20% over the next few years. For more reliable and timely data, growers may spend less time on the field of assessment and diagnosis and more time working on solutions.
Farm Management Softwares
Technology can also automate a challenging resource monitoring and management function. For example, some software and apps allow growers to record all field applications and then monitor these resources from field to multiple storage locations and then to the elevator. This data on resource management can be extremely effective for maximizing agronomics on the field, and it provides brand value for food and beverage companies to distinguish themselves.
IoT and farm management applications are now accessible and increasing in popularity and complexity. The next great frontier of agricultural automation is computers and robotics that can work for humans. Although most of these technologies are not completely commercially available or are currently too costly for widespread use, several companies are rushing to build stand-alone machines that are cost-effective and reliably complete farm tasks during the that process.
Perhaps the most emblematic picture of farm automation is a self-driving tractor. John Deere has been working on the autonomy of his tractors since 1991. Although many of its newer models have autonomous features, such as line keeping and depth adjustment, all of Deere ‘s models still need a human to sit inside. However, all major tractor manufacturers have plans and ideas in place for complete autonomy in the future. Such a tractor, which could be operated remotely or even pre-programmed, would offer substantial savings in labor and production costs.
Drones are gaining ground as autonomous vehicles that can provide information on the safety of crops from above. They can easily and cost-effectively detect problem areas through imagery and infrared analysis and enable farmers to diagnose problems early on. Drones may also do some of the work usually left to aircraft or helicopters, dusting fields, or even blowing water from ripe cherry trees following heavy rainfall when the fruit is likely to burst.
Harvesting fruit and vegetables still proves to be a difficult problem to automate, but a range of businesses are up to the task. The harvesting robots must be gentle with the output to avoid bruising and with the plant to avoid damage. Abundant Robotics has created an early version of an apple picker robot that is gentle and precise. Another service, Energid, has a similar Orange Collection solution. Neither strategy is ready for prime time and the challenge of a real orchard. Time can say whether they transform into a viable, cost-effective solution to a difficult problem.
Automation technology is getting more advanced every year. What was cutting edge only a few years ago (guidance, drive-by – wire, continuously variable transmissions, remote sensors) has now become relatively popular and cost efficient. Technological progress towards full automation will only continue to accelerate as sensing, weather efficiency, sensitivity to the ground and proactive autonomous decision-making become more sophisticated.
It is not outside the realm of possibility that farms may be operated from afar in the coming decades, with less need for human manual labor and more reliance on human intuition, management and decision-making. Nevertheless, it is already clear that the human element in farm management is important in the near future. Automation can make it possible for farmers to scale their operations and be more productive, but with all the complexities of weather and rising, it still takes human instincts and decision-making to operate a modern farm.