Behind the Tech: How to feed a growing world: Why the next Agricultural Revolution is digital

Wednesday, March 21, 2018 12:23 pm EDT

On March 27, 2018, Siemens will present Innovation Day at the Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute (DMDII) in Chicago. The posts in this series preview the day’s program by revealing customer and societal challenges Siemens is solving with digital solutions. To sign up for the livestream, go here.

Farming has existed for thousands of years. Yet for all the impressive gains of modern agriculture, new technological breakthroughs are needed yet again. As global population grows at an explosive rate, from 7.6 billion to 10 billion by 2055, the world will need to find a way to feed more people using land and ocean resources that are already stressed by climate change and overuse. 

“How can we facilitate a technological solution to produce food more efficiently by using fewer resources?” asks Research Scientist Sinan Bank.

This is the question that Sinan and Siemens Corporate Technology are trying to answer in its modern living lab in Princeton, New Jersey. They’re committed to facing the global food challenge head-on by bringing unique and comprehensive food solutions that provide equal opportunities to agriculture industry stakeholders, enabling them to grow a more nourishing food supply that is safe and secure for future generations.

And they believe that the next-generation of agricultural progress will be driven by what they call Autonomous Agricultural Pods (AgPods).

AgPods offer some pretty impressive capabilities:

  • They allow farmers to control and monitor the growth of any crop, from anywhere, and at any time. This creates a new paradigm of farming beyond the geographic boundaries that supports crop production in their natural climates to keep the original flavor and nutrition of the end produce.
  • They autonomously perform all farming operations, from seeding to harvesting, without human intervention. The system requires no prior farming experience to produce industrial scale food, without the need for expensive farming resources like heavy machinery, tools and an irrigation system. 
  • They also automate and integrate the food processing and packaging operations immediately after autonomously harvesting the crop – again, without using any traditional farm machinery or human power.

Critically, the end product is not diminished.

“When we’re taking a closer look at how we’re going to feed the population a couple of years from now,” says Kurt Bettenhausen, Head of Siemens Corporate Technology U.S. “It’s about producing more food with the same quality standards.”

 

 

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