Smart agriculture: How the latest technologies can be applied in the fields
According to analytical forecasts provided by Future Market Insights, by 2026 the smart market of agricultural solutions will grow to $40 billion. Such information is not surprising: the world population will increase, and new capacities will be needed to get food resources. What solutions does the IoT offer to the agricultural sector today?
Unmanned tractor for agriculture
Manned tractors and harvesters have accelerated field work for decades, but today they cannot fully cope with the task of providing necessary capacity. Manufacturers of agricultural machines are gradually starting to produce products that can become part of the Internet of Things. In Europe, about 80% of agricultural machinery is produced with navigation systems.
What can smart technology offer to agriculture? First, smart tractors and harvesters can work autonomously and don’t require person’s presence. This makes it possible to use them at any time of the day. Secondly, prototypes of smart technology for the field are equipped with many additional functions. For example, a John Deere tractor with GPS is available with built-in anti-pest systems. These machines are already used in the fields, but many other similar developments are still being tested.
Russia also creates its smart tractors for agriculture. One of such projects is an unmanned tractor developed by the engineers from the Ural State Agrarian University. In addition to self-driven function, it can fertilize soil and has sensors for soil composition control.
This spring, the Russian company Cognitive Technologies announced a system that could make any agricultural equipment unmanned. This is the so-called C2-A2 agro-droid (Cognitive2-Agro2 Droid1). According to the developers, it will be able to connect to harvesters, tractors and sprayers and provide them with digital brains.
Devices for smart agriculture
The Internet of Things offers the agricultural industry not only smart tractors and harvesters. Smart devices also include aerial vehicles. Drones equipped with cameras and sensitive sensors can monitor fields and the state of crops. Similar devices along with tractors will be able to collect information for the development of maps, make a schedule for fertilization, and even to protect the fields.
Some IoT solutions refer to the moment when the crop is already harvested. For example, smart storage for vegetables and fruits. One of such products is developed by the American firm CheckItNow: these warehouses can automatically check the temperature, humidity and illumination of the room. If the conditions are wrong, the system corrects errors and notifies owners about such changes.
Despite the fact that many smart solutions for the agricultural sector are only being tested, and their implementation will take time, experts’ forecasts are optimistic. According to analysts from Goldman Sachs Group, the application of IoT solutions in agriculture will increase world production by 50% by 2050.