ECA - The Internet of Growing Things

The Internet of Growing Things

cbetton News

ECA - The Internet of Growing ThingsWhen we think of the Internet of Things (IoT), we typically think of flashy applications like autonomous vehicles, smart homes, and connected healthcare. With new technologies making their way to market every day, it’s easy to miss those that impact the more rural areas of our society. Possibly the most labour-intensive industry we have; agriculture is beginning to see huge advances thanks to the growth and maturity of IoT.

Whether it’s a weekly haul or a late-night shop, we don’t always appreciate the logistical puzzle that comes with getting our food from field to family. The truth is, it doesn’t take as many people to tend a farm as it did decades ago. In fact, compared to the 19th century, the percentage of farmers has fallen to within single digits, and as more people move into office roles, we’re starting to see advances in agriculture that are helping to fill the void.

 Harvest Automation – Massachusetts, USA

Nurseries and greenhouses require an incredible amount of time and resource to manage and care for. Mobile robots from Harvest Automation can play key roles within material handling tasks – helping to lighten the load and reduce costs by up to 40%!

Octinion –  Leuven, Belgium

A typical human picker picks and sorts up to 20kg of strawberries per hour, however that is restricted to 8 or 9 hours a day. Octinion’s solution can pick and sort at the same speed, 24/7/365, with precision data modelling to monitor and improve its performance throughout the season.

Australian Centre for Field Robotics – Sydney, Australia

Harvesting season in arid and high temperature countries is difficult, especially in areas without a large labour force. The RIPPA from ACFR uses real-time data to monitor the land and deliver the exact amount of water, fertiliser, and pesticides conducive for growth.

Material handling, picking, and land cultivation are key tasks that robots have never been able to do as well as man. That is about to change as similar start-ups begin to explore applications that can take on the tasks that have so far sat with humans.

A truly automated farm, whilst just a concept today, could soon become a reality. Combined with environmental sensors, automated vehicles, and artificial intelligence, and you have an agricultural ecosystem that could one day work without man.