Agriculture, without any doubt, is a vital part of society. However, after thousands of years’ development, agriculture is still a historically disconnected industry. Current agricultural activities still heavily rely on human labours, and decisions are made based on best practices. Such inefficient behaviour already led to the global food shortage, and the situation will be even worse in the upcoming years.
The global population will reach 8 billion by 2025 and 9.6 billion by 2050, which means food production must increase by 70 per cent by 2050. With the decreasing arable fields, decreasing farmer population (because of urbanisation movement) and climate changes, global food production is growing slowly. The growth is unlikely to cope with the boosting demand.
The situation is even worse in developing countries, where agriculture takes a critical role in the economy. For instance, in China, the arable field area keeps decreasing since 2000, and the area of high-quality farmland shrinks even faster. Farmer population is also decreasing significantly because of China’s urbanisation movement. By 2015, 44% of the total Chinese population is considered as “village population”; the figure was 62% in 2001. To deal with the boosting needs of food with limited resources and human labour, the crop fields need to be utilised with the highest efficiency and fewest people.
Hereby, a highly intelligent field autonomous management system is proposed with Agricultural Internet of Things (AIoT) technology. This system will utilise state-of-the-art techniques that the UK has significant advantage, including but not limited to Internet of Things (IoT), smart sensors, image processing, cloud computing, Artificial Intelligent (AI), etc. to help make agricultural activities scientific, autonomous and automatic, and ultimately an intelligent agricultural management, prediction and decision platform will be produced. Manual labour can be less depended while fields can be better managed. Products include both hardware devices, software tools and bespoke services for a comprehensive solution to suit every customer’s demand. Currently, there is no such products/services/solutions available.
This cutting-edge project will develop the first-ever field autonomous management system with state-of-the-art technologies such as IoT, big data, drones, etc. With this smart technique, human labour will be greatly reduced but food production and land utilisation increased by using more efficient and more precise sensors, hence better harvest quantity and quality. Therefore the proposed project will be able to help to tackle food security and poverty in developing countries worldwide. Eventually, this project will contribute to strengthen resilience and response to the food crisis and to promote global prosperity.
The goals of the proposed system include:
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