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5 ways 5G will change farming and agriculture

https://www.5gradar.com/features/ways-5g-will-change-farming-and-agriculture 

From crop drones to insect detection, the farms of the future will rely on 5G. Discover five ways 5G will transform the agriculture industry.

Is a new ‘green revolution' within reach? Agriculture is a multibillion dollar industry and one of the largest in the world, accounting for almost 1% of GDP in the UK, 6% in the US and 12% in Australia. It’s also set to be a growing industry, with the demand for food set to increase as the world approaches a population of eight billion.

However, it’s an industry hugely affected by small changes in temperature and moisture levels, which often means that issues are only found when the damage has already been done. 

“In an era where crops are being left to rot because of a shortage of pickers, technology will be key to the agricultural industry’s survival,” says Daniel Valle, EMEA Chief Technologist, WWT. “Part of this will see farmers adopting 5G – a technology which will better support productivity, and a vital tool in preventing the passing of increasing costs of business to consumers.”

Cue agritech, which is about to get a boost from upcoming 5G-powered ‘precision agriculture’. “Agriculture is rapidly adopting transformative 5G technology to monitor the environmental conditions for optimum plant growth, and to track, feed, monitor livestock and even milk cows without human intervention,” says Professor Mak Sharma at Birmingham City University. “Other examples include the ploughing, sowing, feeding, health monitoring and harvesting of crops autonomously and without human intervention using 5G connected farm machinery.”

All of this is possible with other mobile networks, but 5G’s high bandwidth, support for a huge number of sensors communicating simultaneously, and low latency, make it perfect for farms.

 Here are 5 ways 5G could transform farming and agriculture.

1. Precision agriculture

Also called ‘smart farming’, precision agriculture is all about applying precise treatments to crops, so instead of treating an entire field the same, farmers can give each row exactly what it needs. It’s all about reducing inputs, from water and food to fertiliser and herbicides. “5G is critical to this, as it supports machine to machine (M2M) services,” says Simon Jordan, Senior Sensor Physicist at Cambridge Consultants. 5G speeds-up everything, allowing machines to be controlled centrally and data to be sent back in real time; without 5G, the system relies only on data being uploaded at the end of the day.

2. 5G farm machinery

For precision agriculture to really take off requires 5G-connected farm machinery. A massive increase in compute power and data collection are the driving forces behind the rise in artificial intelligence (AI), but there’s a missing link; how to get that data to where it’s needed for analysis. “5G on farm machinery and sensors will increase massively the amount of data available, meaning AI can now get to work properly,” says Paul Beastall, Director of Technology Strategy at Cambridge Consultants. “Farms are typically run from a mixture of experience and specialised knowledge, and centralised AI is already spotting patterns that allow yields to be improved, for instance by giving early warnings of disease in greenhouses.”

3. Drone spraying

Autonomous drone sprayers are coming; equipped with a weed scanner and crop sprayer, they scan crops using AI to identify weeds – precision agriculture defined – then apply pesticide only where needed. After 30 minutes they return to a field boundary station, refill their tank and top-up their battery. 

“There are a number of projects today which use insights generated by Internet of Things (IoT) farming tools to improve efficiencies,” says Valle. “For example, applying deep learning techniques to drone camera footage to help identify concentrated areas of weeds, applying herbicides only where they are needed. Similarly, crops can be gathered earlier or later using analysis of the colour and size of the crops.” 

Manual labour will still have a place, says Valle, but by combining smart technologies with the power of 5G, farmers will be able to more efficiently allocate their time to the areas which really matter.

4. Weed and crop monitoring

The tech now exists for cameras to tell the difference between crops and weeds. A good example is a Vodafone 5G-powered system from Blue River, which is now owned by agricultural giant John Deere. It’s ‘See & Spray’ tech uses high-resolution cameras that capture 20 images per second, with AI applied to the images to allow the system to recognises the difference between cultivated plants and weeds. Instead of blanket-spraying, reducing the use of pesticides. Another example is Fafaza, which does something similar by detecting differences in colour and leaf texture to isolate plants. “It’s designed to work autonomously, without a guaranteed network connection, and all the processing required is installed on the platform,” says Jordan. “However, if a 5G connection were available, it could report the locations of weeds or potential trouble spots to allow later follow up by another machine.”

5. Insect tracking

Is there a Biblical swarm of locusts incoming? That’s unlikely, but even a small swarm of the insects can decimate crops in a very short time. Cue 5G-powered geolocation services. “5G can relay data back quickly from fixed in-field sensors,” says Jordan. “These can measure things like insect numbers and disease pressure, as well as soil conditions in real time.” 5G-powered geolocation can also be used to accurately find machines on a farm.

 

요약

농작물 드론부터 곤충 탐지까지 미래 농가는 5G에 의존하게 된다. 5G가 농업 산업을 변화시킬 5가지 방법은 다음과 같다.

1. 정밀 농업
5G는 모든 속도를 높여 기계를 중앙에서 제어하고 실시간으로 데이터를 전송할 수 있게 하며, 5G가 없으면 시스템은 하루의 마지막에 업로드되는 데이터에만 의존한다.

2. 5G 농기계

정밀 농업이 완벽화기 위해서는 5G로 연결된 농기계가 필요하다. 컴퓨팅 파워와 데이터 수집의 엄청난 증가는 인공지능(AI)의 증가를 이끄는 원동력이지만, 이러한 데이터를 분석에 필요한 곳에 어떻게 가져올 것인가 하는 링크가 누락되어 있다. 케임브리지 컨설턴트의 폴 비스타일 기술전략담당 이사는 "농기계 및 센서에 대한 5G는 가용한 데이터 양을 크게 증가시킬 것이며 이는 AI가 이제 제대로 작동할 수 있다는 것을 의미한다"고 말했다. "무기는 전형적으로 경험과 전문지식이 혼합된 상태에서 운영되며, 중앙집중형 AI는 이미 온실 속의 질병에 대한 조기 경고를 주는 등 수확량을 향상시킬 수 있는 패턴을 발견하고 있다."

3. 드론 스프레어

무인기 드론 스프레어; 잡초 스캐너와 크롭 살수기를 장착하고, AI를 이용해 농작물을 스캔하여 잡초를 식별하고 필요한 경우에만 살충제를 적용한다. 30분 후 그들은 야전 경계역으로 돌아와 탱크를 다시 채우고 배터리를 충전한다. 

육체 노동은 여전히 자리를 차지할 것이라고 말하지만, 스마트 기술과 5G의 힘을 결합함으로써 농부들은 그들의 시간을 정말 중요한 분야에 더 효율적으로 할당할 수 있을 것이다.

4. 잡초 및 작물 모니터링

카메라로 작물과 잡초의 차이를 구별할 수 있는 기술의 대표적인 예가 블루 리버의 보다폰 5G 구동 시스템이다.  '시앤스프레이' 기술은 초속 20개의 영상을 캡처하는 카메라를 사용하는데, 영상에 AI를 적용해 재배 식물과 잡초의 차이를 시스템이 인식할 수 있다. 담요를 뿌리는 대신 살충제의 사용을 줄인다. 또 다른 예는 파파자인데, 이 파파자는 식물을 분리하기 위해 색깔과 잎의 질감의 차이를 감지하여 비슷한 일을 한다. 5G 연결은 잡초의 위치나 잠재적인 문제 지점을 보고하여 나중에 다른 기계로 추적할 수 있도록 할 수 있다.

5. 곤충 추적

Cue 5G 기반 지리 위치 서비스 5G는 고정된 현장 센서로부터 데이터를 빠르게 전달할 수 있다. 이것들은 실시간으로 토양 상태뿐만 아니라 곤충 수나 질병 압력 같은 것들을 측정할 수 있다. 5G로 작동하는 지오로케이션 농장에서 기계를 정확하게 찾는 데도 사용될 수 있다.

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