A new agriculture project will see the partners test mmWave 5G technology for farming solutions, including autonomous vehicles, robots, and big data analytics

Today, 5G RuralDorset has announced that it has expanded its partnership with semiconductor specialist Qualcomm, aiming to explore the highly anticipated mmWave spectrum for the creation of new farming use cases.

The trials will utilise Qualcomm’s latest microchips in tandem with 26GHz spectrum, capitalising on the spectrum’s improved capacity compared to existing 5G frequencies in order to test the rapid transmission of enormous amount of data. In theory this could allow for ‘per plant’ farming, with autonomous robots gathering information on individual plants and taking automatic action to improve crop health and yield.
“Intelligent teams of robots which can spot weeds and destroy them naturally have the potential to increase yields by 200% and reduce the need for harmful herbicides and chemicals by up to 95%,” explained 5G RuralDorset spectrum and security lead, Dave Happy.
The new research alongside Qualcomm will be conducted at the Dorset Innovation Park, with capital being provided by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport as part of a larger £5m investment in Dorset.
“Whether it’s saving lives at sea, smart farming or improving ambulance response times, our £5m funding has put Dorset at the forefront of cutting-edge trials in how 5G technology can truly benefit people and businesses,” said Digital Infrastructure Minister Julia Lopez.
Ofcom is currently in the process of planning its mmWave spectrum auction, with its overview expected to be published some time in Q3 this year. The timeline for the auction’s completion has yet to be announced. 
This new partnership with Qualcomm builds on 5G RuralDorset’s experience as part of the Future of Food initiative, in which the company as already performed various agriculture and aquaculture trials, including crop spraying drones and livestock monitoring sensors. Just two weeks ago, 5G RuralDorset demonstrated a live stream of underwater seaweed growth via a 5G-connected buoy, via its partner JET Engineering System Solutions.
In fact, 5G RuralDorset is well respected for its innovative approach to 5G use cases. Last year, the project took home a trio of trophies at the Connected Britain Awards, including the 5G Initiative award, in part for their innovative work in developing the world’s first 5G connected agricultural robots.
How will 5G impact the agricultural sector? Find out from the experts at this year’s Connected Britain conference

Also in the news: