Digital Agriculture

Digitisation has arrived in almost all areas of society and is associated with many opportunities and challenges. "Digitisation" comprises a wide variety of terms and concepts in combination with ever new developments and innovations.

In principle, digitisation involves two approaches:

1) the conversion of information from analogue to digital form and

2) the process of introducing digital technologies and the application systems based on them and the changes resulting from them.

In the agricultural sciences, digitisation has been shaped for many years by the disciplines of electrical engineering and computer science. Essentially, the aim is to capture, store, transmit, prepare, network and analyse data from various sources through the digitisation of process elements and their influencing factors ("data chain"). Such a knowledge chain consists of a series of interconnected steps in which data is processed into information and knowledge, which can ultimately be used in management decision-making. With the different steps, different developments, terms and technologies can be associated:

  • Data acquisition: besides common systems for data acquisition and documentation, modern information sources such as satellite or remote sensing data e.g. from drones are used.
  • Data analysis: Due to increasing data volumes (big data), modern methods for data evaluation (machine learning, predictive analytics and data mining) are used.
  • "Smart Agriculture" or "Smart Farming": Systems and developments are aimed at supporting decisions and management, and the development of new process technologies is promoted (e.g. through satellite and sensor-controlled information). Objective: Digitisation generates high-quality data and information to facilitate decision-making or to identify potential for optimisation.

Another important area of digitisation comprises approaches to technical assistance, process support and the implementation of measures. Modern information and communication technologies are used to control, regulate, monitor and automate process chains in agricultural production. This integrates autonomously working machines (robotics), automatic process data acquisition, the digitalisation of machines including their communication, the development of data platforms up to fleet management.

In the course of digitisation, many data are collected that are also relevant outside the actual agricultural sector. Focusing on the entire value chain - from agricultural raw materials to products, manufacturers and consumers - Agriculture 4.0 describes the networking and information transfer of various actors through modern communication technology.

TUM is one of the pioneers of Precision (Smart) Farming worldwide, including the Chairs of Agricultural Engineering (Prof. Auernhammer), now Agricultural Systems Engineering (Prof. Bernhardt), Organic Agriculture and Crop Systems (Prof. Hülsbergen), the Plant Nutrition (Prof. Schmidhalter) and Agrimechatronics (Prof. Oksanen) .

The Hans Eisenmann Forum for Agricultural Sciences will in future focus more strongly on the field of digitisation. It will also serve as a cross-faculty networking platform for working groups seeking cooperation in the field of digital agriculture.

To this end, we want to set up a system that brings together the right people, actors and interested parties quickly and easily.We have created a simple form that you can use if, for example, you would like to...

- have a special request in the field of digitisation and are looking for a contact person,

- offer a topic for processing by students and look for a contact person,

- work in the field of digitisation, network via the HEF and want to contribute their expertise,

- plan a digitisation project and are still looking for suitable partners and contacts.

 

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