When you think about recent innovations in artificial intelligence (AI), the agriculture sector may not be the first industry that comes to mind. But as a recent TechRepublic article examines, the farming industry is struggling with many of the same challenges facing enterprises today, including supply chain disruptions stemming from the pandemic, a shortage of available labor, and an increasing push for improved efficiency and cost reduction.

In the same way that AI can help businesses with these challenges, the TechRepublic piece shows how AI and robotics are helping farms increase productivity and crop yields.

In addition to the above concerns, farms must also address the physical activity associated with hands-on farming and look for ways to increase crop output safely. The article profiles Carry, a self-driving vehicle using a combination of AI, automation, and electric power to transport up to 500 pounds of crops—something the manufacturer says can increase efficiency by 30 percent. Drawing on machine learning and computer vision capabilities, Carry can operate on all types of terrain and in all weather conditions, avoiding obstacles like trees, people, and other farm equipment. In addition, because the system is continually collecting and analyzing data, metrics like precision, efficiency, and output are always being optimized.

An innovation like Carry would not be possible without intelligence at the edge, and it’s just one example of the technology’s potential in the farming sector. For example, rather than having to wait until the harvest’s completion to analyze crop performance, farmers can now draw on real-time data to make the necessary adjustments in the field to optimize their yields.

Some exciting applications of edge computing in other industries include:

  • Reducing Carbon Footprint and Improving Profitability in Manufacturing: As we’ve written about previously at the APEX of Innovation, edge computing can help companies become more “green.” Manufacturing is a great example, as there is generally a significant amount of material waste accumulated during production. By applying intelligence at the edge, companies can identify and correct errors mid-production before an entire batch of defective products is produced.
  • Improving Utility Grid Uptime: With edge computing, utilities can make real-time decisions to minimize outages and improve overall grid efficiency, reliability, and safety.
  • Improved Situational Awareness for Military and Emergency Responders: Innovations like unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) make it possible for military, law enforcement, and other emergency personnel to obtain situational awareness and make better decisions in the field. UAVs are also gaining popularity in the agriculture sector—for example, using drones to map fields and identify topography. 

It’s clear that AI will play a key role in the future of farming, powered by edge computing and other emerging technologies. 
For more on some of these innovations, check out the TechRepublic article here.