Advances in control of agriculture and the environment

2001 IEEE Control Systems  
T he agricultural sector is rapidly being transformed into an industry of major importance that must rely heavily on computer-integrated management and advanced control systems. These technologies are becoming essential components of the next generation of plant and animal "factories" in the new millennium. Efforts are being undertaken to survey the technological landscape and recognize trends shaping this upcoming application field. Modern agribusiness is becoming increasingly reliant on
more » ... ly reliant on computer-based systems, automation, and robotics that are taking over many of the tedious tasks formerly performed by humans, with superior performance in most cases. To manage the increasing complexity of agricultural systems, increasingly sophisticated methodologies are required. This has given rise to the promising field of precision agriculture, where the goal is to improve the efficiency of operation of agricultural enterprises, as well as the quality and consistency of products, by compensating for the vague-8 IEEE Control Systems Magazine ness and uncertainty of the environment. Conversely, social demand has created pressure for respectful treatment of the environment and the well-being of humans. These objectives result in new and challenging problems-problems that can only be resolved by applying advanced information and control technologies to production management of processes and farms. Agricultural production management systems are becoming highly sophisticated and are beginning to exploit many of the advanced methodologies and tools of industrial automation, modern control theory, and manufacturing. Closely linked to these developments are electronics and communication technologies. In addition, the biotechnology revolution promises dramatic improvements in production efficacy that we hope will also meet social and societal concerns. At the same time, systems engineering is taking on the challenges and complexities involved in managing complex agricultural systems and is actively pursuing systems capable of that elusive property, intelligence. Such interdisciplinary activity cannot help but lead to more effective agricultural systems that will be essential for sustainable, quality production in the new millennium (see "Sustainable Development" above).
doi:10.1109/37.954516 fatcat:4enxaqrqbzf4joqiv337dlx4by