KPN successfully tests 5G applications for precision agriculture in Drenthe

KPN has successfully tested its first 5G application for precision agriculture on a trial farm in Valthermond, Drenthe, the Netherlands. The test was carried out using a camera drone for potato cultivation, which makes very accurate images of a field. The images were processed via a mobile connection with 5G characteristics and sent to an agricultural machine that then doses almost real-time and very precise crop protection onto the potato crop.

5G focuses on higher speed, but also on more flexibility, shorter response times and higher reliability, KPN explains in the announcement. The test in Drenthe was held with new technology in an existing agricultural process for controlling foliage growing between potato plants.

During the test, a camera drone scanned the field with a multi-spectral camera. Thanks to the mobile connection with 5G characteristics, large data files could be sent directly and processed in a task card for the agricultural machine. This machine can then process the field very precisely.

The process requires a lot of bandwidth in the upload, for which the current 4G networks are not sufficient. 5G must therefore change this. The 5G Fieldlab was able to reduce the time it takes to complete the process from two days to just two hours. The tests were carried out in collaboration with the Province of Drenthe, Wageningen University & Research, Stichting Dronehub GAE, Agrifac, Innovation Cog Colonies and ZTE on the experimental farm ‘t Kompas.

Precision agriculture

“We are delighted that the latest technological innovations in the field of drones, sprayers and connectivity are being tested at the t Kompas experimental farm in Valthermond. The province of Drenthe, together with KPN and all other parties, has joined forces to investigate how 5G technology can contribute to improving the management of the agricultural sector”, said Henk Jumelet, member of the Provincial Executive of Drenthe.

According to Tom Poelhekken, CTO at KPN, agriculture is expected to be one of the most important application areas for 5G. “Thanks to 5G technology, precision agriculture is becoming more accessible to agricultural businesses and is able to react almost immediately to developments on the land. This allows farmers to save on the one hand on crop protection, for example, which also benefits the environment. On the other hand, the yield is also expected to increase, because the condition of the crop can be directly anticipated.”

The KPN test in Drenthe is part of four different field labs for 5G applications in agriculture, urban areas, port areas, and the automotive sector. In these labs KPN, together with customers and technology partners, investigates how 5G can optimize business processes and improve the customer experience.

Later this year, KPN will also conduct the first tests in Amsterdam Zuidoost, the Port of Rotterdam and on a motorway near Helmond.

This news article was automatically translated from Dutch to give a head start. All news articles after September 1, 2019 are written in native English and NOT translated. All our background stories are written in native English as well. For more information read our launch article.