Siemens Sets its Sights on Global Food Security and Sustainability
Siemens and 80 Acres Farms have joined forces to bring artificial intelligence, robotics, and other automation technologies to nontraditional farming practices to increase efficiency and sustainability of food production.
Siemens has teamed up with the Ohio-based company, 80 Acres, to bring hardware, software, and capital to sustainable, global food production. 80 Acres Farms is a company who specializes in vertical farming practices using artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics. When the company first started, they were able to produce the same amount of food as a traditional 80 acre farm using only one quarter of an acre, hence the name 80 acres.
Indoor farming shows promise for the future of food production. Image used courtesy of Es sarawuth
Indoor and Vertical Farming
Compared to traditional farming methods, indoor and vertical farming practices see greater sustainablity, including less water use, reduced pesticides, and a lighter carbon footprint. A small, indoor farm can produce up to 300 times as much food per square foot used, water use is reduced by up to 95% when compared to traditional farming methods, and indoor farming negates the need for the use of pesticides.
Indoor farms see a reduced carbon footprint when compared to traditional food production because the "farms" can be placed anywhere in the world, reducing the need for long distance travel of vegetables out of the growing season. Essentially, indoor farms create the ideal growing environment no matter the time of year or place on the planet. This also allows vegetation to last much longer in customers' homes because the food is grown locally and doesn’t spend much time traveling from the farm to the table (also reducing food waste).
Siemens and 80 Acres aim to create a scalable model of indoor farming that can be used across the globe. Image used courtesy of Halfpoint
Siemens Collaboration with 80 Acres
Siemens' recent partnership with 80 Acres Farms brings automation and robotic technology to indoor farming, increase production and efficiency. A link between the two companies was first created when Siemens Financial Services provided an initial investment into the indoor farming company. By bringing Siemens' factory technology directly to the indoor agriculture business, the two companies hope to create a farming practice of sustainable and traceable food production that is scalable worldwide to increase global food security.
Siemens has a significant amount of experience in the technology sector and will be able to provide 80 Acres Farms with years of Siemens' industry experience in increasing productivity through technology based methods. Siemens plans on using its expertise to optimize the farms while it assumes responsibility for the automation and control of the entire 80 Acres Farms farming operation. Siemens will be working closely with Infinite Acres, a technology subsidiary of 80 Acres Farms.
Indoor farming carn produce up to 300 times as much food per square foot used. Image used courtesy of Siemens
Siemens will be in charge of the optimization of many different aspects of the factory, including a single interface system capable of monitoring fire and life safety, security, and power distribution. Siemens is also in the works creating a digital twin for the facilities to create simulations of plant processes and the growth process to reduce upfront costs of new systems before being implemented in reality. They will also be using AI technology to help with optimization of plant growth processes in order to avoid adverse conditions for the plants.
The Future of Farming
While 80 Acres Farms is currently limited geographically—with five farms in Ohio, one in Kentucky, and one being built in Georgia—the company, and its work with Siemens, expect to set a precedent for farming practices to come. By scaling vertical and indoor farming practices, Siemens and 80 Acres expect to see greater security and sustainability from farm to table.