While some view automation as a way to drive innovation in growing municipalities, in Arizona’s farming fields the technology is also helping researchers break new ground. Arizona 360 saw what role automation has in modern-day farming at the Maricopa Agricultural Center where the University of Arizona College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is finding ways to advance what’s known as precision agriculture. The term refers to farmers’ increased use of technology to improve their efficiency.
Engineer Pedro Andrade-Sanchez explained how automation’s integration with existing technology is happening at a gradual pace.
“Consequences of a sudden change can also be negative. We want to be building, building for technology that really solves problems and helps our stakeholders in Arizona,” Andrade-Sanchez told Arizona Public Media.
Machines tested at the Maricopa Agricultural Center include a planter that can automatically adjust how deep it plants seeds based on data about a field’s soil composition. Data used to program automated equipment is gathered by other machines equipped with sensors, cameras and navigation systems.