Importance of Natural Resources

Future Environments: Future Farming

[ ♪♪♪ ] By 2050, the population on earth will go
above nine billion. And if we do not change the way we farm today, given the fact that the land on earth will not grow, we have to grow more food on the
same land to feed the 9 billion. With today’s farming technology,
there is 30% crop loss quite often; which happens because of weeds,
diseases, or other issues. And today, farmers spend 80 percent of their time on finding the issues, and twenty percent of their time on treating these issues. We’re trying to change this equation to make sure that they can focus on diseases, and nutrient
deficiencies, and harvest timings, and so on. All the issues that can reduce their
yield by the end of the season. So we’re working with farmers to take pictures of their farm with aerial imagery, to build the Ag Image Net. We have already 150 terabytes of
high-resolution imagery, and 40 different classes of anomalies: it’s the weeds, it’s the nutrient deficiency,
its vegetation deficiency, watersheds, and different types of anomalies that appear in a farm. So once we collect the images, we have agronomists who can help us to annotate the images for various anomalies. Then these images go to the neural network. And the neural network gets trained,
using deep learning algorithms, to understand what are these issues and to differentiate between them. So the next time it gets a new image, it can identify to which class that it belongs, and what issues the farmer has to address,
and quickly automate the process. Operating drones on large farms is not
optimal, because the drones have to go back and forth many, many times to
collect all the images at the same time, for uniform data analytics. And, in Midwest where farmers have farms stretching 150 miles, it is just too much. That’s why we went to planes,
that can fly at a higher altitude, and captured more imagery. We gave up on the resolution, to some extent, by moving from drones to airplanes. But we’re still at a much higher resolution than what the satellites provide. I strongly believe that, in the future, we will have augmented reality glasses that will get all the information from satellites, from airplanes, drones, soil, weather… and they will provide real-time data analytics and help the farmer to walk along the farm, or to have robotic technologies in the field, and they will enable farmers to
grow more on the same land. [ ♪♪♪ ]

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