Digital Agro (a subsidiary of Uralchem), Agrosignal and Cognitive Pilot (an autonomous driving technology joint venture of Sberbank and Cognitive Technologies Group) have formed a strategic partnership to collaborate on a single agricultural ecosystem to accelerate the digitalization of Russian farming. The partnership will give birth to a unique product that combines a full-cycle ERP system for agricultural enterprises and autonomous driving technologies for farm equipment. The first implementations of the joint product are scheduled for 2020. 

The solution is a hardware and software suite for autonomous control of machinery and gathering, processing, and transformation of telemetric data, as well as consolidating all the business operations of an enterprise in a single digital environment. 

The aggregate volume of products and services developed by the parties will reach up to $300 million USD by 2023. The parties expect to implement their technologies across 30% of agro industrial enterprises with an overall territory of 20 million hectares (49 million acres). 

The agricultural ecosystem includes:  

  • Interface, algorithms for big data analysis and processing, and user mobile apps by Digital Agro.
  • The Cognitive Agro Pilot hardware and software suite: an AI-based autonomous driving system for agricultural machinery (grain harvesters, tractors, and crop sprayers).
  • The Agrosignal digital platform (currently the core of the Digital Agro ecosystem), which will also integrate the three technologies into a single agricultural ERP system.

With the new ecosystem, agricultural enterprises can benefit from addressing all practical tasks through a single interface and leverage the accumulated agronomic knowledge and modern technologies in soil science, ensure the efficient use of machinery, and strengthen control of agricultural and operational works.  

Users will be able to control crop rotation based on historical data and knowledge of the soil and climate in the area of operation through the Digital Agro app installed on a tablet, using the continuously updated array of data from sensors mounted on the agricultural machinery. Digital control of all processes and data makes it possible to set highly specific tasks to operators and monitor their performance in real time. 

Furthermore, the machinery will be equipped with technologies for partially autonomous driving, so the operators' job will be limited to controlling the work of the attached equipment.   

A profound digitalization of processes will help enterprises mitigate risks, enhance potential crop yield when preparing for the farming season, and cut operational costs by decreasing non-production and production losses. Digital Agro services and solutions can also boost efficiency and cut costs by up to 20% through consolidation and real-time management of enterprise data, while Cognitive Agro Pilot technologies can help decrease crop losses by 3% and boost the speed of harvesting by 25%. The cumulative effect of implementing all the ecosystem technologies can help cut direct and collateral costs by an average of another 13%.  

By a MarketsandMarkets estimate, the global market of artificial intelligence in agriculture is approximately $1 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach $4 billion by 2026. Meanwhile, PS Market Research forecasts that the AI-in-agriculture market will have surpassed $11.2 billion by 2030.