Precision Irrigation with Cost-effective and Autonomic IoT Devices using Artificial Intelligence at the Edge
With reference to the effects of the current climate change, the Tunisian government has declared the effective management of natural resources, especially increasing the efficiency of the agricultural use of water, as a strategic priority for the agricultural sector. As part of 12 strategic measures to promote the application of artificial intelligence (AI), the German government plans to increase international cooperation on AI. Within this framework, the envisioned project will see German participants contribute their expertise in IoT and AI cutting-edge technologies and work with Tunisian partners to develop an autonomous precision irrigation system for mutual benefit.
The project aims to create, based on IoT and AI edge control architecture, an affordable, easy-to-implement and robust irrigation system. To reduce dependencies on a cloud platform, the AI irrigation models and rule application will be run locally on edge platforms. The goal here is to be able to operate the irrigation system autonomously without the need for a constant internet connection or mains power supply.
First, the leanest possible AI model for predicting soil moisture and irrigation requirements is developed for this purpose. Then, the AI model is integrated into the local control application, which is executed in a distributed manner both on the edge platform and at the device level. Through a temporarily available internet connection, both the irrigation model and the control system can be updated according to, at the cloud level, new training results.
The project will leverage existing know-how of the partners regarding cost-efficient sensor technology and decentralised radio technology based on open hardware concepts. Thus, an edge-capable gateway developed by Waziup e.V. will form a central element of the new control system.
Rapid deployable Food Production Systems for Emergency Scenarios and arid Regions
The consortium's goal is to develop a mobile, deployable crop production system for use in crisis regions to support food production. The system is intended to produce fresh food for the population in a medium-term time horizon to supplement the food supply.
The system consists of three parts that will be implemented as part of the project:
One part is the development of the Seed Cultivation Mats (SCM). These form the core system of the system and consist of special carrier foils preloaded with seeds. These films provide plant roots with optimal growth conditions and give the plant stability.
The CEA Support Unit represents the second part of the system. The core principle is the use of CEA technologies that control, among other things, environmental parameters. Regulation of these parameters is vital for plant growth, and the Support Unit also provides the plants with water and nutrient solution.
To make the system as widely applicable as possible, the third part of the system consists of a deployable primary structure. This structure creates a closed cultivation volume with environmental conditions that are independent of external climatic conditions. Thus, the primary structure enables the cultivation of plants even in areas where agriculture is not possible due to external conditions.
In order to realise a commercial application of the system at the end of the project, the consortium will perform a detailed cost-benefit analysis.
In addition to pursuing the technical goals, the consortium will also investigate scientific aspects, such as the microbiological conditions in the system or the relationship between nutrient solution composition and the quality of the harvested biomass.
Cooperation and networking between Germany and potential international partners will be intensified through three workshops.