Monash University and Bosch will establish an ag tech facility in Melbourne’s southeast to explore smart farming techniques such as automated harvesting, sensing networks and driverless vehicles.

The facility and accompanying development centre will occupy one hectare at Bosch’s headquarters in Clayton.

It will house a prototypical ‘smart farm’ and will enable collaborative industry partnerships and research. The space will include cropping trials and early-stage prototype development, enabling the use of artificial intelligence, automation, robotics and advanced sensor technology.

Monash Deputy Vice Chancellor and Vice President (Enterprise), Ken Sloan said the facility would leverage the university’s close connections to industry and multidisciplinary capabilities across engineering, IT and science, to drive technological advances in agriculture.

“This Monash-Bosch collaboration represents our shared capabilities in agriculture technology and creates the opportunity to lead future advancement of the ag tech sector – the next big growth industry for Australia,” Sloan said.

“With rising temperatures and rapid population growth requiring food production to double by mid-century – it’s clear we need major innovations in how we eat and farm. We need inventions to increase yields, nutrient quality and sustainability of our food production to cope with the world demand and climate.”

According to Sloan, the ag tech launch-pad could prove instrumental in driving long-term collaborative efforts to address global food security and significantly advance farming practices to safeguard against rising demands.

In Australia, Bosch is a lead investor and technology partner of The Yield, an Australian ag-tech company with a vision to use real-time microclimate data to transform agriculture and food production practices.

Bosch Australia has also partnered with SwarmFarm, another Australian ag tech start-up, to provide engineering and manufacturing services for its autonomous agriculture robotic platform.

President of Bosch Australia, Gavin Smith, said, “Increasingly we see that there is no better place than Australia for ag tech innovation. The establishment of the launch pad by Monash at our facility in Clayton will present a myriad of opportunities for collaboration.”

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