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Are Drones the Future of Agriculture?

Telematics and new technology will play a crucial role in advancing farming techniques

The rise of digital technology has radically altered the world in which we live. Our cities have become hotbeds of technological innovation in which smart infrastructure and communication between smart vehicles and the infrastructure have improved our quality of life by directing traffic towards free roads and green traffic lights, reducing congestion and pollution, and increasing urban safety.

Digital Revolution

As Klaus Schwab, World Economic Forum Founder, explains: “We are standing on the brink of a technological revolution that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work and relate to one another … In its scale, scope, and complexity, the transformation will be unlike anything humankind has experienced before.”

Indeed, we are already experiencing a true paradigm-shift that has integrated sensors and artificial intelligence into our daily lives: not just assisted and/or self-driving vehiclesdomotics and other smart services, but a big data revolution that will transform our very lifestyles and standards, including those of agricultureenvironmental protection and sustainability.

And it’s not just the urban scenario that will be transformed. Telematics is also being employed by smart communities to grow increasingly self-sufficient in terms of food productionenergy generation and waste recycling. And it’s all based on the collection of information and data processing.

Smart Farming

Meanwhile, the world of agriculture is also gearing up to enjoy the opportunities and advantages provided by remote sensingtelematics data analysis and airborne drones. Drones, in fact, have become an invaluable tool for monitoring, surveillance and emergency. And they are set to play a key role in “smart farming,” too.

Research indicates that, by 2050, global food production will have to increase by 70% to satisfy the needs of a rapidly increasing planetary population.  The answer to this growing dilemma is smart farming, also known as precision agriculture, in which sensors collect information, telematics crunches and analyses the information, and precision tools, such as drones, are used to expedite production, whilst maintaining – and in some cases elevating – quality standards.


Drones equipped with surveillance technology can easily be used to monitor hundreds of acres of farm land and allow farmers to address land and crop issues in real-time. Airborne hyperspectral, multispectral and thermal sensors, as well as 3D mapping systems, will be used to identify how much water specific allotments require, whether the soil requires fertilization or specific nutrients to improve crop yield or even detect mineral imbalances that could harm crop yields.

Moreover, precision agriculture drones and telematics will not only allow farmers to collect and analyse information. They will also be used to plant fields by dropping seed and nutrient-filled pods into the soil, spraying fertilizers and other nutrients, and interacting with irrigation systems in real-time to provide water as required. Only in terms of planting, these systems are expected to reduce costs by as much as 85%.

And as in all other sectors, as more and more information is collected, telematics will be able to crunch the data and employ pattern recognition algorithms to extract invaluable information that will help farmers improve crop yields and quality, just as it has improved safety and security on our roads.

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