Bosch Australia and Monash University launch Melbourne ag-tech facility

Monday, 04 December, 2017

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Bosch Australia has collaborated with Monash University on a new ag-tech facility which aims to address the challenges faced by the agriculture sector using new techniques such as automated harvesting, sensing networks and driverless vehicles.

Occupying one hectare at Bosch’s headquarters in Clayton, the launch pad facility and accompanying development centre will also house a ‘smart farm’. The space will include cropping trials and early-stage prototype development, enabling the use of artificial intelligence, automation, robotics and advanced sensor technology.

Together, they will research future farming solutions. The partnership would leverage the university’s close connections to industry and multidisciplinary capabilities across engineering, IT and science, and establish them as leaders in driving technological advances in agriculture.

With the population rapidly increasing, agriculture and food productivity is set to overtake minerals and mining to become the biggest industrial sector by 2050. Monash Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Enterprise) Ken Sloan suggested the ag-tech sector will be “the next big growth industry for Australia”.

Sloan also stated: “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.

“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.”

The facility will become a key component of food and agriculture innovation at Monash, which already includes the Food Innovation Centre, the Food Incubuator and the Australia-China Dairy Manufacturing Centre.

This is also not the first time Bosch has worked on agricultural solutions. Bosch is a lead investor and technology partner of The Yield, an Australian ag-tech company which uses real-time microclimate data to transform agriculture and food production practices. The company has also worked with Australian ag-tech start-up SwarmFarm on its autonomous agriculture robotic platform.

Bosch Australia President Gavin Smith stated: “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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