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Robotics will help nourish the world

3 November 2016
Robotic technology and digital data will deliver sustainable agriculture

Leading roboticist, Professor Salah Sukkarieh, will present his ideas on how robotic technology and digital data will deliver sustainable agriculture and help feed a burgeoning planet at next week’s Falling Walls conference in Berlin.

With a global population predicted to reach 9 billion by 2050, it is critical that agricultural innovation moves quickly
Professor Salah Sukkarieh, Director of Research and Innovation at the Australian Centre for Field

Professor Salah Sukkarieh, Director of Research and Innovation at the Australian Centre for Field Robotics, will address the unique gathering of world leaders in science, business, politics and the arts, on how to create sustainable farming for the future.

“With a global population predicted to reach 9 billion by 2050, it is critical that agricultural innovation moves quickly,” Professor Sukkarieh will tell the conference.

Citing the Australian experience, Professor Sukkarieh will discuss how investment in agricultural robotic technology, research and education is paying dividends.

“Large farm sizes in Australia along with a shrinking labour force and the average age of the farmer increasing is putting increasing pressure on farming practices.  We have to move to more sustainable operations models.

“Fortunately the sector has recoginised the need for change and is adapting to and adopting new technologies, such as sensors, robotics and data analytics.

“Over the past decade we have assisted both large-scale industrial operations in the implementation of sensors and big data analytics, and worked with industry research partners and small family-run farms across the country.

“We have been engineering self-driving farmbots, data-collecting drones and cow-herding robo-ranchers with the goal of delivering sustainable agriculture.

“Robotic technologies are already being trialled on properties across Australia and it will only be a matter of years before they are commercially available at affordable prices.

"Our challenge is to increase technology adoption through various channels such as open sourcing, direct commercialisation and the sharing of technology across multiple farm operations.”

“Also paramount is the education and training of future generations of producers in developed and developing nations. We need to focus on technology and innovation in our junior schools.”

Falling Walls, an annual international conference that fosters dialogue on research and innovation and promotes the latest scientific findings among a broad audience from all parts of society. It will be  held on 8-9 November in Berlin.

Victoria Hollick

Media and Public Relations Adviser
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