Blue White Robotics and Federated Wireless Collaborate With Intel to Chart a New Path to Autonomous Agriculture With Flexible Robotics and Private Wireless
11 May 2022
As part of a joint industry collaboration to automate agricultural solutions, Blue White Robotics, Federated Wireless and Intel today announced a first-of-a-kind implementation, which greatly reduces the barriers for growers to adopt automation that can improve business outcomes while addressing labor shortages. Partnering with a California winery, the collaborators adapted existing farm equipment to perform autonomous tasks and connected the fleet over a private wireless network.
Agriculture operations face many unique challenges when it comes to networking and are generally spread out over a large area, often in remote locations where public carrier broadband wireless is limited and can be costly to implement. Low-latency, high-bandwidth wireless communications through a shared spectrum-enabled private wireless network were essential to realizing the level of automation achieved in this use case.
Federated Wireless deployed a private wireless network in less than three days which covered the vineyard’s 2.1 square miles. The network leveraged Intel Smart Edge and an edge server with a six-core Intel Xeon D-1528 processor to successfully connect a mix of autonomous tractors, sensors and other data points.
“Blue White Robotics’ smart farming is one example of how broader adoption of automation and edge innovation depends on powerful, next-generation connectivity, and Intel and Federated Wireless are making that possible with private wireless that’s built on the cost-effective CBRS shared spectrum,” said Christopher Swan, Chief Commercial Officer at Federated Wireless. “What’s more exciting is that the private wireless network is ready and in position to power additional agricultural IoT devices and applications as they become available.”
An adaptive autonomous kit developed for agriculture by Blue White Robotics converts a typical tractor into a fully autonomous vehicle, giving growers the ability to leverage known assets with the flip of a switch. Blue White Robotics’ solution can automate a variety of tasks, including spraying, discing and dusting. A single operator can then manage a fleet of adapted autonomous tractors working across a very wide area.
“When you introduce all of these devices and robotics for autonomous farming, it’s a massive amount of data in an extremely rural environment, and traditional connectivity becomes a huge problem,” said Alon Ascher, Chief Business Officer of Blue White Robotics. “Managing a fleet of autonomous tractors and extracting data to different vendors in real time would not be possible without the private wireless network from Intel and Federated Wireless.”
Edge intelligence and edge analytics are critical to the success of this solution to speed and simplify AI development and deployment, enabling the robotics to deliver real-time insights. Centralized management of the autonomous tractors fleet is only one benefit of the private wireless network, providing real-time awareness data, such as video feeds. Through edge processing, the tractor can analyze and transmit detailed data about its operations and the vineyard’s conditions.
“As we look to the future for autonomous agriculture, we’re extremely optimistic for what 5G edge solutions can enable for customers, helping them create new business and revenue models,” said Caroline Chan, Vice President, Network and Edge Group, New Business Incubator Division at Intel Corp. “This is made possible through strong industry collaborations with partners like Blue White Robotics and Federated Wireless. Each company brings unique offerings and expertise to create a private network solution that can not only transform agriculture but also scale to support other use cases in different sectors.”
The flexible approach to autonomous agriculture developed by this collaboration provides a new path for growers to improve outcomes with lower labor costs and less human error, while increasing farm-wide productivity. Opportunities for employing agricultural autonomous solutions in ruggedized environments, such as dense tree canopies or rich fruit crops, become ripe for these solutions in the near future.
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About Blue White Robotics
Blue White Robotics was founded in 2017 by Ben Alfi, Yair Shahar and Aviram Shmueli, ex-IAF pilots and engineers with over 20 years of operations experience in autonomous air and ground technologies. From our first autonomous shuttle implementation in Israel to autonomous farms in California, Blue White Robotics supports cutting-edge technology with services to revolutionize industries through autonomy.
About Federated Wireless
Founded in 2012, Federated Wireless is the leading innovator of private wireless and shared spectrum services. The company’s partner ecosystem includes more than 80 solution and edge partners, all of which are dedicated to collaboration in advance development and deployment of shared spectrum services. Federated Wireless’s customer base includes companies spanning telecommunications, government, logistics, manufacturing, energy, hospitality, education, retail, office space, municipal and residential verticals, with use cases ranging from private wireless and Industrial IoT to network densification and mobile offload.
For more information, visit federatedwireless.com.