Robots and drones conquering agriculture

New technologies, such as drones, milking robots and infrared sensors, are revolutionizing field work and the fruit and vegetable sector

In many people's minds, the countryside and agriculture are the perfect antithesis of the technological world and innovation. In fact, there couldn't be a more incorrect statement. New technologies are revolutionizing the fruit and vegetable sector and a new generation of farmers 2.0 is being born.

Working the land may be the solution for young Italians in the future. And no, that's not a joke about our country's current unemployment rate. Suffice it to say that in 2014, students enrolled in Agriculture increased by 14%, and the trend continues to grow year after year. The same goes for investments in agriculture. This return to the land is mainly due to new technologies that allow different methods of cultivation than ten or twenty years ago.

The new agriculture

With new technologies, the classic figure of the farmer also changes. Most of the startups related to this sector involve young and very young entrepreneurs with an average age ranging from 25 to 30 years old. Applications and tools help to monitor climate change and avoid waste, especially of water. But they also allow for less use of pesticides and chemicals. But the real star of today's agriculture isn't the smartphone, it's the drone.


It used to be that anything that flew over a crop field was a danger. From grasshoppers to birds. Today, however, a farm's profit can depend heavily on the use of a drone. These drones will be used mainly to improve the quality of products by saving them from attacks by pests and insects. In this way we will also eat healthier fruits and vegetables, as it will no longer be necessary to use a major dose of pesticides to protect the crop. The cultivations that use drones fall into the so-called field of precision agriculture. Thanks to sensors, in fact, the drone controls and monitors several characteristics in depth. From the quality of the various fruits to the condition of the soil and plants. Since 2015, not surprisingly, specific courses have been created to train entrepreneurs and farmers in the use of these aircraft in their companies and their fields.

Technological tools for the fields

Drones are not, however, the only solution for the preservation and efficiency of crops. There are a number of new technologies that can be incorporated into fields to improve crop yields. For example, in recent years, infrared columns to be used in the rows of plants to monitor their health are very popular. Infrared rays are used to quantify the sugar level inside melons and watermelons, just to make an example. With a special software to be used on these columns, researchers from the Csp of Turin have helped several winemakers to predict the sugar level of their grapes and especially to avoid in time the attack of pests.

Rural Hub

Before explaining Rural Hub let's take a step back. The term hackerspace or hackspace (also known as hacklab, makerspace or creative space) refers to a place where people with common interests, can meet, socialize and/or collaborate. Rural Hub is a hackerspace designed for sharing ideas, technologies, and projects for those who live daily in the fields. The project has been funded by Miur, the Ministry of Education, University and Research.

The milking robot

New technologies will revolutionize the work in the field of animal husbandry. This is also thanks to special milking robots. Or rather domotic stalls. Do you want to understand how this machinery works? Very simple, the cow enters a path made of metal bars and in this room through laser four "aspirators", automatically identify the teats of the animal. And they begin to collect the milk. The liquid collected is automatically transported to the tanks through plastic tubes. Once the machine is finished, the cow leaves the pen and is "greeted" by another robot that serves the animal some hay and water. This whole system is connected to the farmer's smartphone so he can check the amount of milk collected from each cow. With this technology, a single person can manage the milking and cleaning of more than 120 cows.