DOI: 10.3390/machines11080774 ISSN: 2075-1702

Sustainable Crop Protection via Robotics and Artificial Intelligence Solutions

Vasiliki Balaska, Zoe Adamidou, Zisis Vryzas, Antonios Gasteratos
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Control and Optimization
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Control and Systems Engineering

Agriculture 5.0 refers to the next phase of agricultural development, building upon the previous digital revolution in the agrarian sector and aiming to transform the agricultural industry to be smarter, more effective, and ecologically conscious. Farming processes have already started becoming more efficient due to the development of digital technologies, including big data, artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, the Internet of Things (IoT), and virtual and augmented reality. Farmers can make the most of the resources at their disposal thanks to this data-driven approach, allowing them to effectively cultivate and sustain crops on arable land. The European Union (EU) aims to make food systems fair, healthy, and environmentally sustainable through the Green Deal and its farm-to-fork, soil, and biodiversity strategies, zero pollution action plan, and upcoming sustainable use of pesticides regulation. Many of the historical synthetic pesticides are not currently registered in the EU market. In addition, the continuous use of a limited number of active ingredients with the same mode of action scales up pests/pathogens/weed resistance potential. Increasing plant protection challenges as well as having fewer chemical pesticides to apply require innovation and smart solutions for crop production. Biopesticides tend to pose fewer risks to human health and the environment, their efficacy depends on various factors that cannot be controlled through traditional application strategies. This paper aims to disclose the contribution of robotic systems in Agriculture 5.0 ecosystems, highlighting both the challenges and limitations of this technology. Specifically, this work documents current threats to agriculture (climate change, invasive pests, diseases, and costs) and how robotics and AI can act as countermeasures to deal with such threats. Finally, specific case studies and the application of intelligent robotic systems to them are analyzed, and the architecture for our intelligent decision system is proposed.

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