USAF: UAV-Enabled Smart Agricultural Framework using IIoT; Automation, optimization, and standardized communication model

Project: Research

Project Details


Current demographics estimate population growth to reach 10 billion by 2050 and 16.5 billion by 2100. As a result, the demand for food and water will grow; the agriculture sector needs to boost its production by 70% to meet this population demand. The main challenge encountered is coping with unpredictable weather, degradation of fertile land, a reduction in freshwater reserve. The agricultural sector needs to accommodate futuristic technologies to tackle these issues and improve productivity and reduce costs. The application of the Internet of Things (IoT) technology in the agricultural domain is limited, where most smart farming solutions focus on local optimization. With the advent of the Industrial Revolution 4.0, the production capabilities of the agricultural sector have transformed. Advancements in the manufacturing industry systematically introduced cyber-physical systems (CPS) to monitor and control several processes. A crucial aspect of digitization is the automation of agricultural production processes. These processes need to be coordinated in real-time to increase productivity and reduce costs. A large-scale farm in the agricultural industry may consist of more than one modular production system. Interoperability between these modular production systems can be an issue when they are vendor-specific. Supply chain management is an important component of production within the manufacturing sector. Therefore, value development must comply with supply chain management in the agricultural domain. Our proposed research work focuses on the digitization of the agricultural sector utilizing Industrial IoT (IIoT) and drone technology. Our objective is to implement IIoT in industrial farming to optimize the usage of constrained resources and improve productivity. Additionally, we intend to optimize the monitoring, control, and deployment of chemical operations using specialized autonomous drones. An algorithm for the flow of control logic will be developed to automate the production processes in the agricultural industry. Furthermore, a standard communication framework will be proposed to integrate the heterogeneous production systems to work in real-time. Experimental work will be conducted through the use of a developed prototype on a small-scale hydroponic farm with emulated subsystems. The completion of the proposed research work would encourage the development of the agricultural sector in the Kingdom in compliance with the Saudi Vision 2030. Additionally, the proposed communication framework would allow the integration of multiple vendor-specific modules or systems to work efficiently in real-time. Furthermore, the application of the framework can be extended to other domains in the industry.
Effective start/end date15/03/2114/02/22


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