The European GNSS Agency – GSA is promoting the use of GNSS technologies in Europe in several fields: one of the most interesting one is the agri-sector. Recently, GSA presented a report on user needs and requirements in the agriculture sector on position, navigation and timing (PNT).

Thanks to the emerging ICT and digital technologies, the modern agriculture is evolving and is becoming more and more efficient. Saving costs and reducing the environmental impact are the keyaspects of this evolution, which is leading to a final outcome: Smart Farming. Smart Farming is a combination of technologies to producemore and better food while optimizing the agriculture processes. Among these technologies, the precise positioning provided by GNSS is of the utmost importance. In fact, driverless agricultural vehicles will heavily exploit GNSS signals to perform autonomous tasks. This new concept of agriculture represents a frontier for the European space policy and for the European industries and GNSS companies. The European GNSS Agency – GSA is at the forefront in promoting the use of Galileo and the other European GNSS technologies for Precision Agriculture – PA applications.

The Report on Agriculture User Needs and Requirements is one of the most relavant outcomes of the first EGNSS User Consultation Platform. As explained by GSA, the report includes an analysis of current and potential future market trends in the agriculture sector. It also analyses user requirements for applications in Precision Agriculture and agri-logistics and examines performance requirements by application.

From the GSA news:

GNSS user requirements in the agriculture sector are driven by a number of needs: increased profitability of agricultural operations, solutions targeted at small and medium-sized farms, and compliance with policy considerations related to agricultural subsidies. Technological drivers include significant improvements in high accuracy solutions, coupled with the increased availability of low-cost equipment and the combining of GNSS with other technologies in integrated farm management solutions.

Read this: Agriculture a key beneficiary of EU Space Programmes

Despite successful uptake rates for GNSS-driven solutions for agriculture, a number of technological, economic and awareness-related challenges need to be addressed if these solutions are to be mainstreamed. According to the Report, these include developing solutions tailored to the reality of small and medium farms, smart solutions for integrated information management farming systems, further R&D on ways that new technologies can be leveraged and, finding appropriate mechanisms to include farmers and cooperatives in consultations on all of these aspects.

Based on these needs, the Report presents a user requirement analysis across the different GNSS-enabled or supported applications used in agricultural activities. The analysis focuses on performance requirements and the specific potential of the relevant EGNSS service (EGNOS OS, EDAS, Galileo OS, and Galileo HAS) in meeting them.

This research will feed into discussions at the next EGNSS User Consultation Platform (UCP) in Marseille in December. The UCP is a periodic forum organised by the European Commission and the GSA, involving end users, user associations and representatives of the value chain, such as receiver and chipset manufacturers, application developers and the organisations and institutions dealing, directly and indirectly, with Galileo and EGNOS. The event is a part of the process developed at the GSA to collect user needs and requirements and take them as inputs for the provision of user-driven Galileo and EGNOS services.

And this: Agriculture: A new frontier for European space policy

The next User Consultation Platform will be held on 3-4 December, during European Space Week. The main work of the UCP will be carried out in eight parallel panel sessions grouping users by market segment, with a dedicated session on agriculture.

This year, European Space Week also has a special session on Sustainable Land Management, which will showcase various solutions that integrate Earth Observation with satellite navigation to help maximise the resilience of land systems and mitigate the effects of climate change.

To join the ongoing discussion and to ensure that future European space programme evolutions meet your needs and requirements, you can take part by registering to attend European Space Week here.