Machines becoming smarter and more intelligent

Agricultural and garden machines are making the most of big data and AI

By Zoë Smart

It’s not only computers, wearables and gadgets that are making use of smart applications and big data to provide users with personalised services.

Cerescon_sparter The Cerescon Sparter asparagus harvester is equipped with proximity sensors to detect the asparagus subsurface (Photo: Cerescon)

Machines that have traditionally been used for labour-intensive or physically hard work – think tractors or lawn mowers – are now able to provide much more than just power.

Agricultural robots that use sensors to pick and harvest ripe fruit and vegetables, are being introduced on farms. Others use collected data to spray plants with fertilizers and herbicides as needed, rather than on the whole crop, making the process more efficient and more environmentally friendly.

In the gardening sector, the smart tools market is growing rapidly, with robotic lawnmowers being the best-sellers. Some of the more advanced machines have built-in sensors to detect obstacles or rain and can even access weather forecasts online.

Underlying the innovation in these, and many other technologies, are international standards. They provide engineers and manufacturers with a solid base from which to build their products, allowing them to concentrate on innovation, without having to reinvent the wheel. Because international standards are consensus based, and industry stakeholders have largely been involved in their creation, they are widely adopted, allowing the technologies that make use of them to be deployed worldwide and products to be traded globally. 

But it is not only manufacturers that benefit from the use of international standards, with them, end users can rest assured that the machines they have in their hands, or on their land, are safe and can be trusted to work as expected. 

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Cerescon sparter smart harvester The Cerescon Sparter asparagus harvester is equipped with proximity sensors to detect the asparagus subsurface (Photo: Cerescon)