Autonomous Cars Have Already Driven Hundreds of Thousands of Miles! How Will This Impact the Garden?

In Newsletters #2 and #12 we discussed how Autonomous Vehicles will be hitting the market in six to seven years. How will this impact other products such as those in the garden? Years ago science fiction writers pictured vehicles being driven by androids. But this is not how vehicles are becoming autonomous.  Instead sensors, actuators, communications, and emerging complex computation systems are being added to make vehicles autonomous.

The first primary variable to be aware of is whether your products and services are highly used and repetitive. The other primary variables are whether simple to moderately complex sensors, actuators, and communications can be used along with emerging complex computation systems to handle the activity.

Care of lawns and gardens are a highly common activity. Further, the production of food which can be achieved via gardens is an even more highly common activity with incredibly high monetary worth. Many of the activities of lawn and garden care, including food production are well within reach of simple to moderately complex sensors, actuators, and communications used in conjunction with emerging complex computation systems.

Autonomous lawn mowers are already on the market. As more sophisticated sensors, communications and emerging complex computation are added to the mix, look for these systems to become more capable and prevalent.

Automated sprinkler systems likewise are already well entrenched in the market, albeit they are dumb. As sensors, communications and emerging complex computation are added, look to see these systems optimizing the amount of water needed to keep lawns in pristine condition and in order to reduce costs. No longer will users need to program the systems, the systems will use their sensors and knowledge of plant growth to keep every area of the lawn pristine. Customer investment in upgrades to their existing systems will be desirable due to the reduction of costs, upgrade in quality of lawns, and reduction in maintenance programming effort.

Add-ons for both of the above systems are likely to include fertilization and pest control. Specialized systems from fertilization and pest control are also likely to emerge. However, these systems will likely not be limited to just lawns.  They will likely be extended to gardens and trees. Lawn irrigation systems (sprinkler systems) are already extended to gardens and trees. However there will be a significant enhancement in care and quality due to the addition of sensors, communication, and emerging complex computation.

Due to the high monetary value of food production, look for the emergence of food producing tree systems, and food producing garden systems. these systems will use the irrigation, fertilizing, and pest control systems discussed above. In addition, they will have additional components that:

  1. Climb, prune and remove pests from trees.
  2. Dig and plant gardens, as well as digging up of produced food..
  3. Gather food lowered from climbing units, and from shorter plants, as well as trimming, pruning, and removal of pests of shorter plants.

Food is also now being produced in personal green houses and homes. There are specialized hydroponics systems for the growth of herbs, blueberries, bananas, tomatoes, mushrooms, as well as other foods on the market. Look for these systems to expand and start including more actuators, sensors, communications, and emerging complex computation. Look also to see the computation systems start communicating with food preparation systems for both the transfer of food stuffs as well as food need forecasts. These systems will likely start to do the planning of which foods to grow at which quantity levels. Harvesting and delivery units that take food stuffs to the food processing units will likely be common add-ons.

The food production industry will likely be the big losers in this evolution. As food production with greater freshness and more assured quality, will be done easily at home. Computational systems will be assuring quality via sensors. Winners will be those in smart lawn and garden system manufacture. Home remodeling and green house manufacturers will also likely win big.

Water usage will likely go down, which will hit water utilities moderately. There is the possibility that smart water collection will evolve with decorative cisterns around the yard being included as part of automated irrigation systems, further impacting the water utility industry.

Other losers will be those doing lawn and garden maintenance.  Other winners will be those doing installation and maintenance of autonomous systems.