Automation and robotics continue to reshape agriculture practices

Posted: September 10, 2020

Automation in industrial-scale agriculture has been the key to higher crop yields and affordable prices at the supermarket. The past decade has seen an explosion in robotics for the agriculture business, and machines have been reducing the need for human labor for centuries. Farmers once represented 90% of the US workforce. Today they make up less than 1.5%. Yet innovation and automation in agriculture continue to increase outputs.

Robotics face limitations in a typical field, however. With such wide expanses of space, it can be difficult to power and mobilize a robotic workforce over large distances. That’s why agribusiness has typically relied on other forms of automation such as GPS enabled tractors or smart irrigation systems to bring efficiency to their farms.

However, some companies are beginning to explore advanced robotics for more compact spaces, like greenhouses. Not only do the robotics in the greenhouse move each plant to new locations when seedlings have sprouted and require more space, but machine learning and AI visions systems allow the robotic workers to analyze the plants. This analysis allows them to scan for pests, disease, lighting failures, or other problems with the crop.

With labor shortages rampant in farming, it may be time for us to look at robotics as a means of both improving the output of farms and reducing the resources that traditional agriculture consumes. It’s very likely that our farmers will also be engineers, looking for new ways to improve the process of nurturing our food from farm to table.

Farmers as Engineers

As agriculture becomes increasingly automated, it’s important to partner with software and hardware companies that can help make the process from planting to harvesting as seamless as possible. 

If you’re interested in expanding the horizons of your applications, visit us to learn more about AVEVA’s Edge to Enterprise portfolio, including products like AVEVA Edge

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