Hands-free farm is using AI, smart sensors and lettuce-harvesting robots

In Australia, innovators have just presented the country's first fully automated farm; it cost $20 million to set up. Conducted by researchers at Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga, in partnership with the Food Agility Cooperative Research Centre, the project could see robots doing almost all the physical work.

The automated farm spans 1,900 hectares. Among the tech on the farm are drones, robot tractors, harvesters and smart sensors. The latter measure, for example, carbon emissions released into the atmosphere.

"It won't be long before technology takes farmers out of the field and immerses them in the world of robotics, automation, and artificial intelligence," Food Agility CEO Richard Norton stated in a press release. "Full automation is not a distant concept; there are already mines in the Pilbara operated entirely in this way."

According to businessinsider.comΒΈ the researchers will also set up a state-of-the-art cyber secure environment to address emerging cybersecurity risks in food production.

The farm is already operating at a commercial level, and early trials will keep it running at night while farmers sleep. Of course, this smart farm isn't the only recent invention to be driving change in food production: vertical farms save space in cities, smart greenhouses can be run with fewer resources.

Photo source: Dreamstime.com

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