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The introduction of robots, artificial intelligence (AI) and big data in agriculture marks the fourth phase in modern farming, the so-called Agriculture 4.0. It follows the first one, which dates back to the introduction in Britain, in the early 18th century, of basic machinery using animal power to execute simple tasks, and the second phase, which started after tractors were first used around 1918, leading to the introduction of more powered machines. The current, third farming model, industrial agriculture, applied in many developed countries, is often based on monoculture relying on the wide use of machinery, phytosanitary products like herbicides, fertilizers and insecticides. Likewise, raising animals for meat or milk production is based on industrial methods.
It’s not only computers, wearables and gadgets that are making use of smart applications and big data to provide users with personalised services.
The IEC global family has grown to 171 countries.
History provides many instances of technologies developed for military application being spun off and used in the civilian sector for different, broader uses and at lower prices. Drones and other unmanned powered vehicles are a good example.
Using new technology and gadgets to help the elderly and people with disabilities stay independent in and outside the home is the approach favoured by most health specialists, not to mention policymakers and governments. The IEC is preparing International Standards focusing on this approach under the global aegis of its Systems Committee on active assisted living (SyC AAL).
Vehicle makers, telecoms operators and local authorities are planning our future means of transport in big cities, with the help of some key IEC Standards. Self-driving tractors and agribots are changing agriculture in the countryside as well.
The market for agricultural robots has the opportunity for significant expansion: the farming world needs to increase global production whilst it also faces challenges such as reduced availability and the rising costs of farm labour.
Rapid advances in technology are revolutionizing the roles of aerial, terrestrial and maritime robotic systems in disaster relief, search and rescue (SAR) and salvage operations. Robots and drones can be deployed quickly in areas deemed too unsafe for humans and are used to guide rescuers, collect data, deliver essential supplies or provide communication services.
While recent developments in home automation are bound to make anyone’s life easier, there are certain categories of the population for which it may be a life-changing experience: elderly and/or disabled people have very specific accessibility needs and can benefit fully from the technological advances associated with the Internet of Things (IoT) and the smart home.
The demands posed by a rapidly ageing global population are leading manufacturers of robots to develop technology for providing care and rehabilitation for elderly and impaired people in their own homes.
What immediately comes to mind when evoking active assisted living (AAL) is that it is essential in helping senior citizens keep as good a quality of life as possible. The focus is obviously on the elderly in industrialized countries where the population is ageing rapidly. But AAL represents more than that – it is meant for all people who suffer from illnesses or physical, mental and social disabilities. The general concept is to ensure that they live their life independently and comfortably in their own environment for as long as they can manage.
In our smart world, a huge number of devices are part of the internet of things (IoT), or becoming so, many of them integrated with our homes, cities, manufacturing or transport systems and infrastructures. Added to this, a growing number of connected consumer devices, appliances and systems are able to carry out many human daily tasks in the home or workplace, whether for healthcare or entertainment. Research by Gartner forecasts the number of connected things will reach 20,8 billion by 2020, of which 13,5 billion will be from the consumer sector.
Authorities worldwide face the challenge of ensuring improved road safety and providing efficient transport systems to address congested roads and pollution in growing cities. They are also tasked with providing large aging populations and people with disabilities greater mobility.
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