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The Future of farming 4.0: drones and artificial intelligence

The digital transformation has brought about changes to our way of life at every level, even the everyday — changes that aren’t necessarily very visible or disruptive. This is a necessary innovation seeing how the current model for agriculture–considering the social and environmental challenges the world faces– is no longer sustainable.

But it’s also about innovation that doesn’t turn its nose up at tradition. Quite the opposite–it embraces that knowledge and spreads it better and faster with big data, improving the taste and quality of products. And it’s the traditional companies, the ones most closely involved in this push for innovation, that need to invest in the most promising startups, so they don’t miss out on the chance to ensure their products are high quality and produced according to a sustainable and robust model.

What is farming 4.0?

Back in the 90s, the concept of Precision Agriculture (PA) started to gather speed. This was a new technological approach comprised of GPS, satellite technology and software-enhanced machinery.

Recent figures from the mechanical industry in Europe show that 70-80% of agricultural machinery sold today have at least one component using PA technology. Yet it’s been tough getting the technology to take off in Europe. In Italy for example, only a fraction of agricultural land uses PA technology. According to the watchdog Smart AgriFood, the Italian PA market is worth just €100 million.

Meanwhile in France, Germany and the UK, companies that have adopted PA techniques exceed 20%, and in the US this number reaches 80%. Farming 4.0 isn’t just a necessary evolution, it’s also useful for facing the impending food emergency: it’s estimated that the world’s population will reach 9 billion by 2050 and natural resources aren’t infinite.