Artificial intelligence (AI) has become an area of strategic importance and a key driver of economic development. It can bring solutions to many societal challenges from treating diseases to minimizing the environmental impact of farming.
The European Commission puts forward a European approach to Artificial Intelligence and Robotics. It deals with technological, ethical, legal and socio-economic aspects to boost EU’s research and industrial capacity and to put AI at the service of European citizens and economy, including the vertical agri-food market. In farming and precision agriculture AI could support this circular economy by:
- Unlocking new Precision Agriculture techniques. Precision Αgriculture, allows farmers to maximize yields using minimal resources such as water, fertilizer, and seeds. By deploying AI software, in combination with a multitude of sensors, farmers could begin to understand their crops at a micro scale, conserve resources, and reduce impacts on the environment. Sensoring and AI technologies foster Precision Agriculture to all kinds of agricultural production (large & medium scale, micro farming, urban or sub-urban farming etc.).
- Developing further Life Cycle Assessment frameworks. To determine environmental impacts associated with the agricultural production, the use of a life cycle assessment (LCA) framework, is necessary and allows the entire production chain to be analyzed and optimized. The use of new networks, sensoring, AI, IoT and deep learning technologies in the field unlocks a new era for LCA which with the use of AI in large data analytics produces advanced and sharable knowledge for production optimization.
It is essential to join forces in the European Union to stay at the forefront of this technological revolution, to ensure competitiveness and to shape the conditions for its development and use (ensuring respect of European values). In this framework, the AI4EU consortium was established to build the first European Artificial Intelligence On-Demand Platform and Ecosystem with the support of the European Commission. Applying the AI4EU platform’s services in the agri-food vertical market is essential and should be put under serious consideration from the key actors in the specific agri-food sector.