After the pilot episode introducing the new virtual Tractor of the Year (TOTY) 2021 program, the second episode – available on the dedicated platform – is now available. In it the program creators and BKT address one of the most topical issues, for its impact both globally and on agriculture, digital connectivity.
A general overview and update was provided by Luca Zorloni, the Economy and Internet editor at wired.it, who showed how connectivity is one of the most essential topics not only in everyday life but also to be able to develop a more realistic framework for Agriculture 4.0, or precision agriculture.
Connectivity means the possibility of transferring vast quantities of data, at high speed and in a uniform way; we can make a vehicle autonomous, or provide remote medical assistance, or increase a battery’s durability for example. But in Agriculture too the future seems to be increasingly digital.
As Zorloni notes: “In 2050 there will be 9.5 billion of us, which means proportionally increasing food production to meet this demand. This is why it is essential to move towards smart Agriculture. To achieve this goal, investments are envisaged of around 23.44 billion dollars by 2025, including the realization of drones, robots, and new storage and cultivation technologies. According to a study by Ernst & Young, in 1960 on average 1 farmer could feed 26 people, in 2015, the same farmer could feed 155 people. But applying the same measurement parameters, in 2025 each farmer will be responsible for 265 people. That is why connectivity and digitalization will be essential instruments for the survival of agriculture and satisfying the demand for food.”
Also in the studio was Yuri D’Antilio, Field Engineer at BKT Europe, who underlined how research into transforming machinery and related equipment will make the difference in both the medium and long term: “A parameter which we will no longer be able to overlook in the digital revolution in agriculture will be Sustainability, both in terms of a focus on the environment and in term of waste and cost-reduction. The last decade has seen a radical transformation in Agriculture, with the increase in demand for food and in urbanization. Our responsibility as producers is to address the change by offering the best and most sustainable solutions possible.”
The combination of technologies for connectivity and precision agriculture is the precise response to increase quality, optimize yields and reduce risks and environmental impact.
How? By analyzing the numerous items of data that the vehicle can communicate. From the harvest, an in-depth study and cross-referencing of this data can lead to measures and solutions that go into the minutest detail, in order to eliminate any waste. Moreover, it is possible to integrate the work in the field among various agricultural firms.
Then, by analyzing the environmental, climate and harvest data, it is possible to establish the irrigation and nutritional needs of the crops and also prevent them becoming diseased. The interaction among vehicles then enables efficient fleet management. The possible developments of the “digital dialogue” between vehicles are very widespread.
A key role is played by the digital platforms where agricultural firms can obtain an overview of all the information generated by sensors installed on vehicles and any drones used. This data can then be used in comparative archives, from which forecast models can be developed.
As for tires, they must be interconnected to the vehicle, with specific sensors which not only transmit the data of the activities already undertaken, but forewarn of some other events, such as for example changing the tires due to the wear and tear of the tread. If the vehicle and its tires are already one system, in the near future they will be even more so, they will become a single unit. Therefore, collaboration between the manufacturers of machinery and tires is essential.
At its R&D center in Bhuj in India, BKT is already working on numerous projects, including the development of “super compounds” consisting of super-resistant nanomaterials which meet the requirements of sustainability, safety, performance, electrification, and self-driving.