Driverless tractors, combine harvesters and drones have grown a field of crops in Shropshire in a move that could change the face of farming. The autonomous vehicles followed a pre-determined path set by GPS to perform each task, while the field was monitored by scientists using self-driving drones. The project, called hands Free Hectare, began with autonomous tractors drilling channels to precise depths for the barley seeds to be planted. The tractor was also used to plant seeds and spray fungicides, herbicides, and fertilisers. An automated combine harvester then harvested the field of barley.
A team of researchers from the University of La Rochelle in France have converted albatrosses into de facto surveillance drones as part of a project to gather data on illegal fishing boats in the South Pacific and Indian Ocean. The team traveled to popular albatross nesting locations at Amsterdam Island and Kerguelen Island in the Indian Ocean north of Antarctica, and attached small sensors to 169 albatrosses in a procedure that took about 10 minutes per bird. The sensors weigh 65 grams, or around a seventh of a pound, and were equipped with a GPS receiver, a radar antenna, and a satellite communications monitor to track various boat communication systems. The devices were each powered by a small lithium battery that maintains a charge through a small solar panel, according to a report from ArsTechnica. The albatrosses covered more than 18 million square miles between East Africa and New Zealand, gathering data from more than 600,000 GPS locations.
This story was delivered to BI Intelligence IoT Briefing subscribers. To learn more and subscribe, please click here. Switzerland-based agricultural tech Gamaya announced yesterday that it had raised 3.2 million in funding to combine drones and artificial intelligence to improve farmers' yields, according to Fortune. Gamaya was spun out of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, a research university in Switzerland, and received funding from Nestle's Chairman, Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, Swiss venture capital firm VI Partners, and others. The startup uses drones equipped with hyperspectral cameras that can capture changes in water and fertilizer use, crop yields, and pests.
Japanese farmers are testing a new drone that can hover above paddy fields and perform backbreaking tasks in a fraction of the time it takes a labourer. The drone applies pesticides and fertilizer to a rice field in 15 minutes - a job that takes more than an hour by hand and requires farmers to lug around heavy tanks. Developers of the new agricultural drone say it offers high-tech relief for rural communities facing a shortage of labour as young people leave for the cities. Pictured is a farmer in Japan's Tome region trialling the new technology'Our ultimate goal is to lower rice farming costs to one-fourth of what it is now,' Hiroshi Yanagishita, President of Nileworks, the Tokyo drone start-up behind the technology, told reporters Thursday. Nile-T18 was recently tested in Japan's Tome area – a region that has supplied rice to Tokyo since the 17th century.
Bees are getting extinct due to variety of issues such as: pollution, pesticides, fungicides, climate change, etc. Lately Walmart applied for patent with the U.S. Patent Office for drone pollinators designed to fly from plant to plant, collecting pollen from one and transferring to other. Robotics is already being implemented in strawberry harvesting, fresh-fruit picking, data mapping and seeding. The autonomous tractors might also capture a commonplace. Recently, an interactive presentation at Colorado State University, shared the overview of future of farming by the presenters Raj Khosla and Tom McKinnon. Khosla discussed the 5 R's of precision agriculture: "at the right time, in the right amount, at the right place, use of the right input, in the right manner."