How will we obtain high-quality food for all the people on earth in the future? How can we design agricultural processes in such a way that they also meet the ecological framework conditions? This issue of the visIT theme booklet presents Fraunhofer IOSB's approaches to answering these questions.
The essay forcefully illustrates the need to pursue Digitalization in agriculture in order to achieve a balance in the conflicting goals of the two introductory questions. To this end, technologies are being explored that support farmers across the entire value chain (field, harvest, storage, production, logistics, trade, consumer). New approaches in robotics, sensor technology and data processing make it possible to offer innovative solutions in the complete food chain.
The first contribution deals with the drone-based recording of soil parameters. The measurements of a hyperspectral camera carried by the drone are used to derive area-wide soil parameter maps that can support farmers in individual fertilisation.
The second article presents a smart vision box designed by Fraunhofer IOSB that can be integrated on a harvesting machine and enables targeted harvesting in viticulture. In addition, diseased vines can be distinguished from healthy ones, which increases the quality of the harvest.
The products harvested from the field can then be re-sorted at the delivery stage. The aim here is to remove foreign bodies and also to sort by quality. In the article, this approach is demonstrated using the example of grape sorting - here, for example, fungus-infested berries are detected and rejected.
In the fourth article, approaches to safeguarding the food chain are presented. For this purpose, food transport containers are equipped with integrated temperature, humidity, position and acceleration sensors so that better shelf-life models can be created for temperature-sensitive foods.
Recently, sensors have been used in retail and by end consumers to determine the quality and freshness of food. Thus, on the one hand, a variable price can be determined by the retailer for sale, and on the other hand, end consumers can use the same approaches to check freshness in their own households.