BT Group joined an effort around smart agriculture by delivering a robotic platform and management system to Robot Highways, a programme partly backed by the UK government designed to boost the sector’s efficiency and sustainability.

The UK operator stated Robot Highways will use its technologies including machine learning and cloud computing to provide automation and management system, tools BT noted would boost supply chain operations and improve eco-friendly approaches in farming practices.

BT explained smart technologies would be used to optimise crop cultivation, while robotic platforms will assist farmers when conducting “energy-intensive” processes including harvesting and pest control.

Robots deployed in the joint project will be powered by renewable energy sources.

BT stated IoT and robotic automation technologies had already contributed to boosting efficiency in the agricultural market through improved forecasting accuracy, and reducing the required labour, waste and “fungicide use”.

Robot Highways describes itself as a joint initiative among scientists, engineers and technical experts to explore the use of various technologies in farming. It is lead by Norwegian R&D group Saga Robotics and aims to position smart technologies as a key driver of industry sustainability.

Saga Robotics CEO Anne Dingstad welcomed BT’s participation: “Connectivity plays a key part to advance automation and precision agriculture and to enable increased food production with less resources”.