Atos Launches World’s First Vertical Digital Urban Farming Project

Lyon, France, 16 January 2018

Atos has received R&D funding from a French interministerial program to develop the Digital Urban Farming project, the world's first urban and digital farm. Atos will head up the consortium that includes business startup Ferme Urbaine Lyonnaise (Lyon Urban Farm) and the LIRIS laboratory at INSA Lyon (France).

Vertical farming means that it is possible to grow significant quantities of food products in vertical stacks, layers or structures in order to develop agriculture close to towns and cities, or to compensate for the lack of arable land in a harsh environment.

This sector is expanding rapidly[1] and will now benefit from state-of-the-art digital solutions delivered by Atos, which combine data analysis, Industry 4.0, and precision agriculture. The objective is to utilize and make the most of raw data and to offer new and innovative services such as:

  • Assisted maintenance. The operator uses a touchpad fitted with virtual reality for diagnostics and troubleshooting;
  • Predictive maintenance - to enable early-warning signals in the event of breakdowns. These signals can trigger alarms in the event of an impending breakdown or assist operators in estimating the remaining life cycle of components with the aim of anticipating breakdowns and optimizing production;
  • Optimization and implementation of plant growing methods. A plant growing method is the set of scientific conditions that enable a plant to develop. Data analysis will make it possible to identify these methods for the best possible outcome in plant development.

Laurence Ponsonnet, Director of the Rhône-Alpes-Auvergne region (France) for Atos, says: "Ultimately, the Digital Urban Farming project will not only be digitized, managed, and optimized remotely, but the experience and knowledge gained will also enable implementation of new models of data use for more eco-friendly farming."

Innovation is at the heart of Atos’ strategy across all its territories. The Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region (France) has more than Atos 2,000 employees in Lyon, Grenoble, and Clermont-Ferrand and, as this project clearly illustrates, it is firmly committed to the local economy, while benefitting from the global reach of the Atos Group's worldwide expertise.

[1] According to a report by Allied Market Research published in May 2017, the vertical farming sector will quadruple in the years ahead, from 1.5 billion euros in 2016 to 6.5 billion in 2023.

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