The Future of Food (free PDF downloads)

Farmers and tech startups are using IoT, AI, robots, and precision agriculture to prevent a food shortage crisis. For in-depth coverage about smart farming, check out these three ebooks.
Written by Kristen Lotze, Associate Writer

This is an early design for Harry, Small Robot Company's precision drilling and planting robot.

Image: Small Robot Company

As the human population increases at an accelerated rate, one big question remains at the forefront: Will there be enough food to ensure everyone gets fed? In order to combat this issue, farmers are using artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, drones, GPS, Internet of Things, satellite imagery, and more tech to streamline their processes and improve production.

For the Future of Food special feature, ZDNet and TechRepublic writers take a first-hand look at several farms in the US and the UK to examine the ways they're using modern technology to their advantage. The magazine versions of the three cover stories are available to download for registered ZDNet and TechRepublic members.

Natalie Gagliordi visits the John Deere test farm in Bondurant, IA where they're trying out the next generation of precision farming systems like GPS guidance, self-driving tractors, and AI, as well as incorporating machine and deep learning into their operations. Download the free PDF ebook: How self-driving tractors, AI, and precision agriculture will save us from the impending food crisis.


The backend of John Deere's row crop tractor is prepared for planting.

Image: Derek Poore

Charles McLellan investigates two UK-based startups, the Small Robot Company and HandsFree Hectare, to see how they're putting various technologies into practice. Through the incorporation of robotics, AI, advanced photography methods, and open-source technology--among other things--these startups are making farming safer, automated, and more precise. Download the free PDF ebook: Smart farming: How IoT, robotics, and AI are tackling one of the biggest problems of the century.


An autonomous combine--smaller and lighter than conventional farm machinery--harvesting HFHa's first crop in September 2017.

Image: HandsFree Hectare

Teena Maddox reports on Crafton Farms, a Land O'Lakes/WinField United co-op in Tennessee, and the Agronomy Center for Research and Education (ACRE) at Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN, to see how they're putting technology to work. From IoT sensors that measure soil moisture and drones that keep track of crops, to studying the genetics and genomics of plants, these two smart farms are helping to shape the future of agriculture. Download the free PDF ebook: Agriculture 4.0: How digital farming is revolutionizing the future of food.


Farm equipment at the Agronomy Center for Research and Education at Purdue University.

Image: Derek Poore/TechRepublic

Check out the ZDNet Future of Food Special Feature page to access all of these cover stories, watch video interviews, and much more.

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