This paper will serve as an introduction to the realms of automation and machine to machine communications specifically in relation to agriculture. More and more enterprises are automating and networking their machines and equipment together for more efficient and central control of their operations. Machines and robots are steadily becoming more mobile and intelligent. Along with these comes the greater need for them to communicate and coordinate with each other and share information.
Even agricultural equipment such as combine harvesters and many previously unintelligent devices can now be equipped with network capabilities as well as their own Artificial Intelligences (AI). These will all essentially work as mobile devices with very large data streams that need to be addressed in localized networks especially in rural and remote areas. Implementers of such systems will need to use and synchronize multiple systems to ensure networked automation. These will include satellites, radio towers, inbuilt wireless transmitters, and so on. Furthermore, implementers of such systems may need to come up with entirely new systems, ideas, and technologies to make all this possible.
Cellular networks have now grown to maturity and are now thoroughly understood, perhaps too much so. However our machines have only recently begun to communicate with each other. Until recently machines did not transmit commands to each other. There was always a person pulling the strings so to speak. However, now machines transmit actionable commands to each other, without human operators. The infrastructure we have built was meant for people to communicate with. Many requirements for machines are and will be very different from those of people. For instance machines are not very good at making inferences and assumptions or even recognizing context.
People regularly cooperate to achieve goals. By doing this they are able to progress from one goal to another. People often achieve this by communicating with each other. The same principals can be applied to “generic robots” attempting to achieve various tasks. Generic in this instance means robots that do not need to be changed in any way. They can simply be given new tasks to do once they are finished with a previous one. Blair, J. O. (2008). “Navigating an environment is an important issue for any robot but becomes increasingly important when other autonomous robots are involved. The actual implementation will vary, as the platform being used changes, but numerous solutions exist.” Blair, J. O. (2008).
Agent technology originated from the areas of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and distributed computing. AI research is used to make human lives easier. Agents are therefore, programs used to make human lives easier. Executing complex tasks by cooperation of several agents on interconnected devices is referred to as distributed computing. The combination of these two fields therefore brings out the true nature of agent technology. It is expressed in terms of autonomy, coordination, reactivity, heterogeneity, brokerage, and mobility. (Das, 2012) “An agent is a sort of special object that has autonomy. It behaves like a human agent, working for clients in pursuit of its own agenda.” (Das, 2012, p. 265) Machines have steadily been evolving from devices that perform single specific tasks while under human control to agents that perform a variety of tasks on their own and with minimal supervision. They can even work in environments with other agents and may even display greater intelligence by doing so.
Machines Talking To Machines
Machines also need to communicate in order to function effectively in natural environments. By far the best way to do this would be like people do, and that is wirelessly. An emerging industry phrase on machine communication is M2M. M2M stands for machine to machine technology and is quite…