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Emerging technologies to expand Australian agriculture

A three-year project aimed at unearthing new ways to move Australian agriculture forward has wrapped up with a list of 39 emerging technologies and 24 new industries.

According to a recent press release, the six part series of ‘Horizon Scans’ highlights futuristic technologies, trends, innovations and new industry opportunities, all with strong potential to expand and grow Australian agriculture.

Expanding Australian agriculture

The project is developed by the Queensland University of Technology and funded by an organisation that proudly focuses on the future of Australian agriculture.

Included among the emerging technologies are robotics and artificial intelligence (AI), data, biotechnology genomics, business models, renewable energy, and advanced materials.

The organisation’s Managing Director explained the importance of emerging technologies and industries in helping the sector achieve the National Farmer’s Federation’s target of AU$ 100 billion.

He said, “Spotting emerging technologies early and identifying their role in helping grow new industries are exciting for the sector and key to maximising the Australian agricultural sector’s competitive advantage.

Dr Grant Hamilton, a researcher from the University, and his team used a world-first approach to match futuristic technologies with new industry opportunities that can be applied in Australia.

He shared that many of the technologies and new industries identified through the scans have obvious application.

Meanwhile, others may require a leap of faith to understand the potential impact they can have on individual farm businesses or agricultural industries.

They also present an opportunity for growth, and the capacity to do so in an environmentally sustainable way by using new technologies.

It takes a highly innovative business or individual to realise those opportunities but the payoff can definitely be worth it.

Emerging technologies and their benefits

Technologies, which have not yet been seen before, can emerge from inside Australia in sectors unrelated to agriculture and open up new opportunities.

It can also come from overseas technologies, which may have the potential to completely transform the way things are done in Australia.

The benefits of autonomous robotics and human physical augmentation technologies in improving productivity and the safety of workers in repetitive and physically demanding tasks are starting to be seen.

As the future of work takes shape over the coming decades, these technologies will be essential in driving on-farm transformation.

Some of the examples provided are:

  1. Wearable User Interfaces
  2. Natural Language Interfaces
  3. Human-in-the-loop Machine Learning
  4. Computer Vision
  5. Collaborative Robots
  6. Context-aware Computing
  7. Human Augmentation
  8. Brain-computer Interface

Other transformational technologies identified through the scans are driving smarter and more reliable energy infrastructure.

The increasing availability of low cost and efficient electricity generation and storage technologies will facilitate entirely new models of energy consumption.

Renewable energy technologies, which were previously unheard of just a few years ago, are now a real possibility and include Solar Retransmission, Perovskite Solar Cells, Sodium-Ion Batteries, Moisture Harvesting and Artificial Photosynthesis.

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