Dr. Jenny Sneddon of LJMU and Life Laser Fence project recently attended the Emerging Imaging Technologies in Agri-Food Workshop organised by Innovate UK’s Knowledge Transfer Network. This was a networking event of 150 delegates, mostly from research and development companies and academia. There were a few larger farmers present, who could afford to invest in research and development.
The organisers (Innovate UK and Knowledge Transfer Network) were facilitating the transfer of knowledge in agricultural imaging between the developers of technologies and small companies so that Knowledge Transfer Network, Innovate UK and Research Councils (collectively UK Research and Innovation) can fund, via competitive grants, the bringing of imaging technologies to market.
The philosophy of the meeting was that agricultural imaging and robotics will be the main players in improving UK agricultural efficiency, and addressing demand for sustainable food production globally. This is particularly relevant in sub Saharan Africa and this is becoming an issue of global security. In the UK, BREXIT pressures on agricultural labour are driving research into robotics. Professor Simon Pearson from the University of Lincoln, who chaired the workshop, commented that “imaging technology is the backbone of precision agriculture as DNA is to bioscience.”