Agriculture 4.0 comprises a set of technologies that combines sensors, information systems, enhanced machinery, and informed management with the objective of optimizing production by accounting for variabilities and uncertainties within agricultural systems. The concept of Agriculture 4.0 consists in the harmonious and interconnected use in agriculture of two different digital technologies: (i) precision agriculture for carrying out targeted agronomic interventions, which take into account both farming requirements and the physical and biochemical features of the land; and (ii) smart farming, i.e. the digital connection between field activities and all other related processes. Namely, the digitization of the farm, achieved by collecting relevant digital information from the field and enabling the exchange of information and/or commands over the Internet.
In the World Government Summit report "Agriculture 4.0 – The Future Of Farming Technology", it is stated that four main developments are placing pressure on the legacy agriculture model in meeting the demands of the future: demographics, scarcity of natural resources, climate change, and food waste. To meet these challenges will require a concerted effort not only by governments and investors but also by innovative agriculture technologies. Agriculture 4.0, the coming agricultural revolution, must be a green one, with science and technology at its heart and it will need to look at both the demand side and the value chain/supply side of the food-scarcity equation, using technology not simply for the sake of innovation but to improve and address the real needs of consumers and re-engineer the value chain. Modern farms and agricultural operations will work differently, primarily because of advancements in technology, including sensors, devices, machines, and information technology. Future agriculture will use sophisticated technologies such as robots, temperature and moisture sensors, aerial images, and GPS technology, to list a few. These advances will let businesses be more profitable, efficient, safer, and environmentally friendly.
Three main trends where technology is disrupting the industry have been identified: i) improving production using new techniques; ii) introducing new technologies to bring food production to consumers, increasing efficiencies in the food chain; and iii) incorporating cross-industry technologies and applications.
Efficiency and productivity will increase in the coming years as precision agriculture becomes bigger and farms become more connected. It’s estimated that by 2020, over 75 million agricultural Internet-of-Thing (IoT) devices will be in use: The average farm will generate 4.1 million data points daily in 2050, up from 190,000 in 2014. But while the growing number of connected devices represents a big opportunity for food producers, it also adds complexity. The solution lies in making use of cognitive technologies that help understand, learn, reason, interact, and increase efficiency. Some key game changers are represented by: i) IoT platforms such as IBM’s Watson where machine learning techniques are applied to sensor or drone data, transforming management systems into real AI systems; ii) new technologies to ease the workload on farmers, making operations done remotely, processes automated, risks identified, and issues solved; and iii) data-driven farming based on the analysis and correlation of information about weather, types of seeds, soil quality, probability of diseases, historical data, marketplace trends, and prices, to help farmers in making more informed decisions.
As also highlighted by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), autonomous unmanned systems could represent a crucial technology to support and address some of the most pressing challenges in farming in terms of access to actionable real-time quality data and crop monitoring. Indeed, both Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGVs) could be favourable complementary tools to conventional farming machines, enhancing operations efficiency as well as human safety and health, thus reducing the environmental impact. Unmanned vehicles may one day consist of autonomous swarms of drones, collecting data and performing tasks. The biggest obstacle to that becoming a reality is sensors capable of collecting high-quality data and number-crunching software that can make that high-tech dream a reality. UAVs and UVGs can be exploited throughout the crop cycle for different tasks: i) soil and field analysis; ii) planting; iii) crop spraying; crop monitoring; irrigation; and health assessment.
Indeed, precision farming entails solutions for automatic steering solutions, sensing and control for variable rate applications, telematics to monitor the vehicle fleets and data management through farming software. In this way, precision farming can allow the improvement on the accuracy of the operations, managing in-field variations rather than treating fields as a whole. In this framework, control systems may play a significant role towards the automation of agricultural operations and processes.
Focus of the proposed workshop is to present state-of-the-art development and applications of technological advances and applications of control engineering for addressing crucial problems into the framework of Agriculture 4.0, including agronomy, horticulture, and forestry. During the workshop, the attendee will be driven through several thrilling and promising applications, each one exploiting a direct application of advanced identification and control techniques to agricultural robots and applications, ad-hoc tailored for complying with applied domain needs and available computation capabilities. The purpose of this workshop is to bring together researchers, engineers, companies, and practitioners interested in the application of control, automation and robotics within the Agriculture 4.0 framework. Moreover, the workshop is intended as an overview of all main aspects of control engineering and automation applied to the agricultural field, from analysis and design, through both simulations and experiments.
The target audience includes graduate students and researchers in control, robotics, computer scientists, physicists and engineers working in the field of control systems and robotics applied to the Agriculture 4.0 framework. The topics covered in the talks of this workshop will focus on both research and commercial aspects, thanks to the participation of several Universities, research centers, and industry.
Lorenzo Comba, DISAFA, Università di Torino, Torino, Italy
Cesare Donati, DET, Politecnico di Torino, Torino, Italy
Josè M. Maestre, Systems and Automation Engineering Department, Universidad de Sevilla, Sevilla, Spain
Martina Mammarella, IEIIT, Italian National Research Council, Torino, Italy
Luigi Longo, EarthAutomations S.R.L., Cosenza, Italy
Adi Taflia, Tevel Aerobotics Technologies Ltd., Israel
Manuel Perez RuizEnrique Apolo-Apolo, Ingenieria Aerospacìal y Mecànica de Fluidos, Universidad de Sevilla, Sevilla, Spain
Alessandro Bucciarelli, xFarm srl, Milano, Italy
Antonio Petitti, STIIMA, Italian National Research Council, Bari, Italy
Dario Mengoli, DEI, Alma Mater Studiorum - Università di Bologna, Bologna, Italy





09:00-09:15 Organizers Welcome / Opening Remarks --
09:15-9:45 Lorenzo Comba "Agriculture 4.0: potential and challenges" Link
09:45-10:15 Cesare Donati "Guidance, navigation and control algorithms for autonomous agricultural systems" Link
10:15-10:45 Josè M. Maestre "Control of water systems with humans and robots in the loop" Link
10:45-11:15 -- Morning Coffee Break --
11:15-11:45 Martina Mammarella "Coordinated control of drones towards 3-D visual map reconstruction of farmlands" Link
11:45-12:15 Luigi Longo "New control and safety system for autonomous agricultural robots: the DOOD tractor" --
12:15-13:45 -- Lunch Break --
13:45-14:15 Adi Taflia "Tevel's FAR: what are the challenges to develop an autonomous fruit picking robot?" Link
14:15-14:45 Manuel Perez Ruiz, Enrique Apolo "Decision support systems for crop disease identification and management" Link
14:45-15:15 Alessandro Bucciarelli "Robotics applications for in-field monitoring and precision water/crop management" Link
15:15-15:45 -- Afternoon Coffee Break --
15:45-16:15 Antonio Petitti "Advanced perception strategies for agricultural mobile vehicles" Link
16:15-16:45 Dario Mengoli "A prototype of an autonomous ground robotic platform for precision orchard management" Link
16:45-17:00 Organizers / Audience Closing Remarks and Discussion --


Institute of Electronics, Computer and Telecommunication Engineering
Italian National Research Council
Department of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences
University of Torino
Department of Systems and Control Engineering, School of Engineering
Tokyo Institute of Technology
Department of Electrical, Electronic, and Information Engineering ``Guglielmo Marconi''
University of Bologna


Developed by: Paolo Barge & Martina Mammarella