Smart agriculture overcomes labor shortages and boosts productivity and quality
Agriculture has taken a hard hit from labor shortages and unpredictable extreme weather. To boost productivity and ensure quality, it’s time to promote the Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial intelligence (AI) in agriculture to realize smart agriculture. With sensor-based systems, farmers can remotely monitor crops, soil, fields, and livestock in real-time. The collected data can be analyzed and provide insights for operational decision-making. And the shrinking workforce can be mended by autonomous vehicles, robots and drones.
Turning to automation and digitization has become a trend in agriculture that is irreversible. Recently MARKETSANDMARKETS writes, “The smart agriculture market is expected to grow from USD 12.9 billion in 2021 to USD 20.8 billion by 2026; it is expected to grow at a CAGR of 10.1% during the forecast period.” Furthermore, the global population is estimated by the UN to reach 9.7 billion by 2050. Therefore, agricultural production needs to increase by 69% to feed the world. With Axiomtek’s IoT gateway controllers, AI-powered edge systems and ultra-small 2.5” SBCs, kinds of traditional agriculture can be smart and precise for better applications with ease.
Sensors and gateways collect data and ensure the conditions for crops
Having moisture and pH sensors in the soil, farmers can know whether the water and nutrients are enough or not. It lets farmers know the right time and amount to irrigate or fertilize, avoiding waste and redundant work. Temperature sensors can be crucial for profitable crops. Taking ice wine as an example, the grapes need to be naturally frozen before being harvested. That’s when the real-time overall environmental data would be the key and data can be the reminder for farmers.
An IoT gateway can compile all the raw data from sensors to show real-time data and analysis. Axiomtek’s ICO300-83B is a robust DIN-rail fanless IoT gateway with low power consumption Intel® Celeron® Processor N3350. It has four RS-232/422/485 serial ports for various sensor connections. Furthermore, the ICO300-83B has a PCI Express Mini Card slot for 4G/3G/GPRS/Wi-Fi connection to the cloud or local server for remote detection and 24-hour monitoring or integrating data from other gateways. It also allows the connection to sensors to go wireless when serial ports are occupied. The ICO300-83B comes with one mSATA stored in a PCI Express Mini Card slot and an internal 2.5” SATA drive for additional storage. Its small and lightweight form factor and DIN-rail mounting kit make it easy to integrate into any existing infrastructure. It has a wide operating temperature from -40°C to +70°C and can endure relative humidity up to 95%, which is perfect for agricultural use in harsh environments. Additionally, the wide range 12V-24V DC power input with a lockable terminal block and overvoltage/reverse protection ensures reliable connections for all application areas.
More than that, as ICO300-83B receives data from the sensors, once there’s abnormal reading, the automated devices can take action in time via DO signal to activate other devices. If the moisture level in the soil is low, the automated irrigation system can be turned on. Once the length of daylight is too long, the shade net will be automatically open.
Survey drones provide air support for multiple purposes
With the edge in a higher view and speed, drones are must-haves for farmers. To spread pesticides, fertilizer or seeds in an area that’s hard for manpower to cover, there is no faster way than drones. Also, drones could monitor crop health and growth condition via camera. Mapping is another important function of drones. Geographic Information System (GIS) can be used for property management, field condition recording, making planting more precise.
Axiomtek’s 2.5-inch PICO319 SBC with 34mm in thickness, less than 250 grams in weight and 100 x 72 mm in size can be installed in the drone. To enhance seamless communication, the PICO319 has a 5G compatible M.2 key B 3042/3052 socket along with an expanded SIM slot through the AX93A19 module to enable the drones to transmit data via 5G connection, offering ultra-high reliability and low-latency connectivity. The PICO319 has two USB 3.0 (USB 3.1 Gen1) ports and is compatible with USB 3.0 cameras. The low power consumption PICO319 is powered by the onboard Intel® Atom® x5-E3940 quad-core processor. It can handle a wide operating temperature range of -20°C to +70°C for operational stability in harsh environments. Among its many features, the board offers up to 8GB of DDR3L memory, 4-channel digital I/O and two COM.
Autonomous tractors minimize the workforce and extend the working hour
In addition to data, automation also plays an important role in modern agriculture. It frees up more workforce from manual work like weeding for more valuable work that can only be done by people and extend the working hour into nights and early mornings. Now autonomous tractors in agriculture have shown a variety of applications. With camera and visual recognition function, they can tell and harvest the ripe fruits. With the GNSS module, setting certain routes for path-planning and sowing are just a piece of cake.
Autonomous tractors can be controlled by the AIE900-XNX, in which supercomputer-on-module NVIDIA® Jetson Xavier™ NX is suitable for running modern AI workloads, the autonomous could operate according to orders. The AIE900-XNX has four PoE ports for 3D LiDAR and optional four FPD Link-III ports for SerDes camera which empowers the ADAS for collision avoidance and pedestrian protection. In addition, the system supports the CAN bus vehicle communication protocol and optional 12/24V DC power input with ignition power control, all making it an ideal solution for autonomous tractors. It comes with an M.2 Key B 3050/3042 slot along with a SIM slot for 5G connections to enable real-time data transmissions. A PCI Express Mini Card slot is ready for the GNSS module to work precisely. Designed for use in challenging yard environments, the AIE900-XNX has a wide operating temperature range from -30°C to +60°C and vibration tolerance of up to 3 Grms.
With Axiomtek’s industrial-grade products, farmers’ operational decisions can be data-driven, and productivity, quality and efficiency can be tremendously improved. Axiomtek also provides customization services to meet customers’ needs to create the greatest value possible.