German multinational manufacturing and tech giant Bosch is developing a new ‘ag-tech’ facility in southeast Melbourne, designed to test smart farming techniques.
It is partnering with the city’s Monash University to develop innovations including automated harvesting, sensing networks and driverless vehicles in response to the growing challenges faced by the agriculture sector.
With agriculture predicted to overtake Australia’s mining sector in terms of value by 2050, the establishment of this facility is a timely one.
The new centre will add to the thriving billion-dollar investment hub known as the Clayton Innovation Precinct.
President of Bosch Australia Gavin Smith said: "Increasingly we see that there is no better place than Australia for ag-tech innovation. The establishment of the launch pad by Monash at our facility in Clayton will present a myriad of opportunities for collaboration."
The facility will house a prototypical 'smart farm' and will enable collaborative industry partnerships and research. The space will include cropping trials and early-stage prototype development, enabling the use of artificial intelligence, automation, robotics and advanced sensor technology.
Bosch and Monash have had a presence in Clayton since the 1950s. Monash Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Enterprise) Ken Sloan commented: “With rising temperatures and rapid population growth requiring food production to double by mid-century - it's clear we need major innovations in how we eat and farm. We need inventions to increase yields, nutrient quality and sustainability of our food production to cope with the world demand and climate.”
One of the innovative solutions Bosch has been working on with crop science specialist Bayer is smart spraying. Look out for an exclusive interview in the forthcoming December edition of FDF World magazine.