It is estimated that by 2050 the world’s population will be around 10 billion. From employment generation to contribution to National Income, agriculture is important to all of us as agricultural produce is the core on which we survive. It contributes a significant portion to the economic prosperity of the developed nations and plays an active part in the economy of the developing countries as well. Moreover, Agriculture has played a major role in maintaining and increasing the per capita income of the rural community. For countries like India, the agricultural sector has 18% of GDP and it is estimated that agriculture provides 50% of the country’s workforce. With technological advancements in the mainstream, the field of agriculture has also become privy to it. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is an emerging technology in the field of agriculture. AI-based equipment and machines have taken today’s agriculture system to a different level. This new-age technology has enhanced crop production and improved real-time monitoring, harvesting and processing, which only provides good produce to the customers and matches their satisfaction. The new-age technologies of automated systems using agricultural robots and drones have made a tremendous contribution to the agro-based sector. Various hi-tech computer-based systems are designed to determine various important parameters like weed detection, yield detection, crop quality, and many other techniques. 

The technologies which are AI-based help farmers improve their agricultural produce in order to increase their profits and lower their losses. Agricultural robots are built in order to deliver high-value applications of AI. AI-based technological solutions have enabled farmers to produce more output with less input with improved quality while ensuring a faster go-to-market for the yielded crops. 

Artificial intelligence makes it possible for farmers to assemble large amounts of data from government as well as public websites, analyze all of it, and provide farmers with solutions to many ambiguous issues, as it provides us with a smarter way of irrigation which results in higher yield to the farmers. Due to artificial intelligence, farming will be an amalgamation of technological and biological skills in the near future, which will not only serve as a better outcome in the matter of quality for all the farmers but also minimize their losses and workload.

Variety selection and seed quality set the maximum performance level for all plants. The emerging technologies have helped select the most suitable crops and have even improved the selection of hybrid seed choices which are best suited for farmers’ needs. It has been implemented by understanding how the seeds react to various weather conditions and different soil types. By collecting this information, the chances of plant diseases are reduced. Now,  we are able to meet the market trends, yearly outcomes, and consumer needs, thus farmers are efficiently able to maximize the return on crops.

Robotics and Autonomous Systems (RAS) are introduced in large sectors of the economy with relatively low productivity, such as Agri-Food.

The technology of smart irrigation is developed to increase production without the involvement of a large number of manpower by detecting the level of water, temperature of the soil, nutrient content, and weather forecasting. The actuation is performed by turning the switch of the irrigator pump. The M2M(Machine-to-Machine) technology has been developed to ease the communication and data sharing among each other and to the server or the cloud through the main network between all the nodes of the agricultural field.

Although the study of agricultural robots has made tremendous progress, robots that are applicable to work in complex agricultural environments are still not available in the market. The main reason was that algorithms that can cope with the uncontrolled and unpredictable real agricultural environment have not been developed yet, and other factors, such as the seasonality of agriculture, mark the difference between the real environment and the experimental environment in laboratories. The dynamic and rapid changes in time and space of the agricultural environment are almost unavoidable, whether in unstructured environments, such as military and space environments, or in environments where atmospheric conditions have uncertainty inherently, like rugged terrain, visibility and illumination. Nevertheless, partial autonomy will still benefit the production with technology. The Pareto principle applies to many tasks, and it basically means that automation can be applied in 80% of a task, leaving the remaining 20% very difficult. In other words, 80% of required manual work can be reduced with automation. Furthermore, the 80% automation can serve as a transition from traditional farming systems to completely autonomous farming systems and more experience will be learnt by experimenting with software and hardware elements.

To meet the customers’ satisfaction, agricultural produce is a necessity and, as above mentioned, robotic and Artificial Intelligence technologies are to be integrated into the field of agriculture to leverage high agricultural produce.

Moreover, AI facilitates data-driven decision-making by analyzing vast amounts of information, ranging from weather patterns to soil conditions, thereby empowering farmers with actionable insights. This not only enhances productivity but also enables farmers to adapt to changing environmental conditions and market demands.

While challenges remain, such as the development of algorithms capable of navigating complex agricultural environments, the progress made so far is significant. Partial autonomy in farming operations already yields substantial benefits, laying the groundwork for further advancements towards fully autonomous systems.

In essence, the convergence of AI and robotics in agriculture represents a pivotal moment in the industry’s evolution. By leveraging technological innovation, we can not only meet the growing demand for agricultural produce but also ensure its quality, sustainability, and accessibility for generations to come. As we embrace these transformative technologies, the future of farming holds the promise of abundance and prosperity for all.

About the authors:

* Nisharg Nargund, An AI developer, independent researcher, and prolific author, contributing to numerous papers

in esteemed conferences and journals, and writing for various FoodTech magazines. 

**Henilsinh Raj, An AI developer leveraging theory to craft practical solutions, committed to innovation and shaping the future of AI by merging academic rigor with real-world applications.