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Product Line Engineering to exploit technology in Arable

Farming
MSc Thesis Information Technology
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“Everything should be as simple as possible, but no simpler.”

-- Albert Einstein

Author: Nick van Nispen


Reg. Number: 921213-605-130
University: Wageningen University
Chair Group Information Systems

Professor: dr.ir. A Kassahun


Examiner: prof.dr.ir. B Tekinerdogan

Course code: INF-80433


Study load: 33 credits
Period: September 2017, Wageningen

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Abstract
In the agriculture farmers are or will be challenged with the digital era, built largely on technologies
that comprise the Internet of Things promises to make the farm of the future more productive and
efficient. However, the prevalence of helping farmers exploiting technology is very low. Therefore, this
thesis presents an action research design to derive feature diagrams for arable farming following the
product line engineering approach to develop a tool for farmers to configure their smart farm. The
methods combines interviews and facility visits with farmers to explore the cultivation cycle and
understand arable farming. For this research, the features of the arable farming domain were
harvested from articles in Google Scholar and Google. This resulted in feature diagrams following the
product line engineering approach. Based on the interviews, facility visits and feature diagrams a tool
was derived to enable application engineering. Moreover, to help farmers exploiting technology for
their farm. The tool is implemented and improved with the validation of a farmer. This thesis found
that product line engineering approach appear well suited for the identification of features in arable
farming through literature. And that the configuration tool is an excellent starting point in order to
exploit technology in arable farming where farmers are enabled to create their own smart farm
meeting their own requirements.

Keywords: Product Line Engineering, Internet of Things, Smart Farming, Feature Modelling

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Acknowledgements
First and foremost, I would like to express my gratitude to my supervisor Ayalew Kassahun for being
my discussion partner and inspire me with valuable tips and comments. It was great to have a
supervisor who shared my enthusiasm about the research topic. Next to that I am thankful that we
made it possible to conduct this research in an unusual time schedule and adapt to my situation. I am
confident that this research project would not have reached the level is has without your contributions.

I would also like to thank Jacob van den Borne and Laurens Woestenenk for showing me their farm
and gave me insights in the cultivation cycle of arable farming. Besides the valuable insights the visits
provided a realization for what I am working. Your passion for the job motivated me even more to
come with a working product.

Last but not least, I would like to thank my family and friends who are always there to support me.

Nick van Nispen

May 2018

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Contents
Abstract ................................................................................................................................... v
Acknowledgements .................................................................................................................. vii
Table of Figures ........................................................................................................................ xi
Table of Tables ......................................................................................................................... xi
1. Introduction ........................................................................................................................ 13
1.1 Research context ............................................................................................................. 13
1.2 Research approach........................................................................................................... 16
1.3 Objective and research questions ....................................................................................... 17
1.4 Report structure .............................................................................................................. 17
2. Related Work ....................................................................................................................... 18
2.1 Internet of Things ............................................................................................................ 18
2.1.1 Defining Internet of Things .......................................................................................... 18
2.1.2 Impact of Internet of Things ........................................................................................ 20
2.1.3 Architecture of IoT...................................................................................................... 21
2.2 Product line Engineering ................................................................................................... 25
2.2.1 Defining product line engineering .................................................................................. 25
2.2.2 Feature-Oriented Product Line ...................................................................................... 26
2.2.3 Domain Engineering.................................................................................................... 27
2.2.4 Application Engineering ............................................................................................... 27
2.2.5 Feature Modelling ....................................................................................................... 27
3. Methodology ........................................................................................................................ 28
3.1 Interviews and farm visits ................................................................................................. 28
3.1.1 Selection of farmers .................................................................................................... 28
3.1.2 Interviews ................................................................................................................. 28
3.1.3 Facility visits .............................................................................................................. 28
3.2 Feature Modelling ............................................................................................................ 29
3.3 Domain Engineering ......................................................................................................... 30
3.4 Application Design ........................................................................................................... 31
3.4.1 Website .................................................................................................................... 31
3.4.2 Configuration tool ....................................................................................................... 31
4. Domain Engineering ............................................................................................................. 33
4.1 Hardware feature tree ...................................................................................................... 33
4.2 Communication feature tree .............................................................................................. 36
4.3 Platform feature tree ........................................................................................................ 41
4.4 Services feature tree ........................................................................................................ 43
5. Application engineering ......................................................................................................... 47
5.1 Configuration tool ............................................................................................................ 47
5.1.1 Questions related to the feature diagrams ...................................................................... 47
5.1.2 Meta-questions .......................................................................................................... 47
5.2 Woestenenk Aardappelen .................................................................................................. 48

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5.2.1 Woestenenk’s application design ................................................................................... 48
6. Discussion ........................................................................................................................... 49
6.1 Results and contribution ................................................................................................... 49
6.1.1 Literature .................................................................................................................. 49
6.1.2 Interviews and facility visits ......................................................................................... 49
6.1.3 Domain engineering .................................................................................................... 50
6.1.4 Configuration tool ....................................................................................................... 51
6.1.5 Application engineering ............................................................................................... 51
6.2 Implications for farmers .................................................................................................... 51
6.3 Limitations and further research......................................................................................... 52
7. Conclusion .......................................................................................................................... 53
8. References .......................................................................................................................... 55
Appendices ............................................................................................................................. 62
Appendix A ........................................................................................................................... 62
Appendix B ........................................................................................................................... 65
Appendix C........................................................................................................................... 71

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Table of Figures

Figure 1: IoT provides opportunities for the entire food and agri sector (Sundmaeker et al., 2016). ..... 13
Figure 2: Smart farming affecting the agricultural sub-domains (Beers, 2017). ................................. 14
Figure 3: The product line engineering visualized (Apel et al, 2016). ................................................ 15
Figure 4: The present approach and future approach visualized. ..................................................... 16
Figure 5: Visualisation of the research steps. ............................................................................... 16
Figure 6: The three- and five-layer architecture for Internet of Things (Gaitan et al., 2015), Adapted. .. 21
Figure 7: Layered view of IoT architecture ((Tekinerdogan, Köksal & Çelik, 2017). ............................ 22
Figure 8: Device-to-device communication model diagram (Rose, Eldridge & Chapin, 2015) Adapted.... 23
Figure 9: Device-to-cloud communication model diagram (Rose, Eldridge & Chapin, 2015) Adapted. .... 23
Figure 10: Device-to-gateway communication model diagram (Rose, Eldridge & Chapin, 2015) ........... 24
Figure 11: An example of a graphical notation of a feature tree diagram. ......................................... 27
Figure 12: Legend for the feature diagrams (Köksal & Tekinerdogan, 2017). ..................................... 29
Figure 13: Arable farming is the scope of the research (Beers, 2017). ............................................. 30
Figure 14: Feature tree set-up. .................................................................................................. 30
Figure 15: The process of farm configuration. .............................................................................. 32
Figure 16: The structure of chapter four. ..................................................................................... 33
Figure 17: Hardware feature tree. .............................................................................................. 34
Figure 18: Communication feature tree. ...................................................................................... 37
Figure 19: Platform feature tree. ................................................................................................ 41
Figure 20: Services feature tree. ................................................................................................ 44
Figure 21:The eyed transition in arable farming. ........................................................................... 53
Figure 22: Present and future farming approaches. ....................................................................... 53
Figure 23: Van den Borne Aardappelen shown from an aerial perspective. ........................................ 65
Figure 24: On the left the shadow zones and on the right the planting density. ................................. 66
Figure 25: Van den Borne's self-driving vehicles. .......................................................................... 67
Figure 26: Woestenenk Aardappelen shown from an aerial perspective. ........................................... 68
Figure 27: Woestenenk's equipment presented in front of the barn.................................................. 70

Table of Tables
Table 1: Potential barriers (Beecham, 2014). ............................................................................... 14
Table 2: Definitions of Internet of Things. .................................................................................... 19
Table 3: Definitions of product line engineering. ........................................................................... 25
Table 4: Hardware feature tree definitions. .................................................................................. 35
Table 5: Communication feature tree definitions ........................................................................... 38
Table 6: Platform feature tree definitions. .................................................................................... 42
Table 7: Services feature tree definitions. .................................................................................... 45
Table 8: List of requirements formulated by Woestenenk. .............................................................. 48
Table 9: Division of crops Woestenenk Aardappelen. ..................................................................... 69

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1. Introduction

1.1 Research context


Problem context
Food security has been a concern ever since mankind has been threatened by the combination of
growing populations and diminishing resources (Harris, 1997). This incessant threat results in
decreasing food security over time, and as history shows, can be deferred by innovative solutions
developed by mankind (Kruize, 2017).

The years after 1870 were a major turning point in the history of the agriculture in western Europe.
The first green revolution started when new techniques were developed to increase production and
productivity. In an economy in which labour costs were rapidly increasing, mechanization of the
production process seemed to be the most obvious solution. The use of fertilisers, new seeds and the
introduction of machinery increased yield while requiring less labour (Zanden, 1991). In the 1960s the
automation and mechatronics made their way in the agricultural sector as mechanisation of field
operations and more environmental-friendly cultivation techniques. This second green revolution
ensured huge steps forward in production efficiency, quality improvements and sustainability
(Sundmaeker et al., 2016). However, the increased water use for irrigation, soil degradation and
chemical runoff are some of the unintended consequences impacting the landscape. These
environmental costs suggests that the long-term success of the second green revolution may be at risk
(Prabhu, 2012).

It seems that another green revolution is required to increase agricultural productivity on less acreage
and to satisfy the changing food demands. Simultaneously, the increase of agricultural food production
should be accomplished with a smaller ecological footprint with respect to earths carrying capacity
(Seuring & Müller, 2008). In addition, the new agricultural revolution needs to address the challenges
of climate change, introduce more resource efficient methods, improve animal welfare, reduce waste
and guarantee the safety of food (Sundmaeker et al., 2016).

The third green revolution will be driven by the development of Internet of Things (Seuring & Müller,
2008), (Beecham Research, 2014). Where Internet of Things (IoT) are devices embedded with sensors,
actuators, processors, transceivers and connected real-time to the internet involving sensing and
communication technologies. Those embedded devices and technologies are merged together in order
to form a system where the real and digital worlds and are continuously in cooperative interaction
(Sethi & Sarangi, 2017), (Borgia, 2014). The IoT is offering excellent opportunities for both the farm
and food sector itself. It is expected to be a powerful driver that will transform farming and food into
smart webs of connected objects (see Figure 1) (Sundmaeker et al., 2016). As IoT and ICT technologies
will be deployed on farms in greater numbers farm data will grow accordingly. As a result farm
processes become increasingly data-driven enabling new ‘smart’ possibilities for farming (Wolfert et
al., 2017).

Figure 1: IoT provides opportunities for the entire food and agri sector (Sundmaeker et al., 2016).

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Those possibilities results in smart farming which is a development that emphasizes the use of
communication technology the farm management cycle. By smart farming, in this thesis, it is
understood the application of data gathering, data processing, data analysis and automation
technologies (Wolfert et al., 2017).

Smart farming from the farmer’s point of view should provide the farmer with added value in the form
of better decision making and / or more efficient exploitation of operations and management (AIOTI,
2015). In this sense, smart farming is strongly related to the concepts of precision agriculture (PA) and
precision livestock farming (PLF). Smart farming may include the application of PA and PLF, but could
also boost other common or growing trend in the agriculture (van Evert et al., 2017; Sundmaeker et
al., 2016; Beecham, 2014). And smart farming can also provide benefits in terms of environmental
issues through more efficient or optimisation use of input (AIOTI, 2015). Nowadays agriculture is
productive and quite environmentally responsible. However, technological innovation in this sector
will allow to maximize the efficiency of the activity while ensuring that food production delivers quality
while complying with sustainable environmental criteria.

As shown in figure 2 the concept smart farming has the future potential to lever different sub-domain
with the agriculture sector.

Figure 2: Smart farming affecting the agricultural sub-domains (Beers, 2017).

Smart farming in the future


Research has been conducted, for example (Gubbi et al., 2013; Jayaraman et al., 2016; Sundmaeker et
al., 2016; TongKe, 2013), to find possibilities for the agriculture to exploit smart technologies. However,
according Beecham (2014) several barriers slowing down the adoption of IoT in agriculture as shown
in table 1.

Business Barriers Technology Barriers


Lack of technical knowledge at farmers1 Standards for sensor networks still under development
Smart Farms are few and fragmented2 Patchy rural wireless and broadband coverage
System for an individual farmer is costly3 Software still maturing
Return on investment hard to calculate Questions as how to safeguard data
Each farm is unique4

Table 1: Potential barriers (Beecham, 2014).

The main issue is the issue of communicating with famers who could often not understand the
technicalities. “If the farmers are being told about the possibilities of what IoT does or is able to, they
do not understand” (Guerrini, 2015). The language of the IoT industry has to be change dramatically in
order to be understandable for the farmers. And it cannot be expected that the individual farmer is
about to configure a system and integrate IoT technologies without help or tools.

After conversations with farmers, sector-managers and professors I made the conclusion that barriers
1, 2, 3 and 4 could be solved with a systematic approach and a ton of creativity as its written down on
the pages to follow.

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The systematic approach
A promising systematic approach to derive systems, for example smart farms, have been developed
over the last couple of decennia. Known as Product Line Engineering (PLE) (Apel et al., 2016; Pohl et
al., 2005). A widely-used alternative adopted in product engineering to tailor systems to the
requirements of individual customers, for example farmers. This done by identifying and modelling a
portfolio of smart farms using a shared set of building blocks to exploit a farm with technology. The
commonalities and variabilities (building blocks) of the domain are mapped (Apel et al., 2016).

To illustrate the principle, if two or more smart farms are compared with each other it will be obvious
that they share a common set of building blocks with some degree of variability. Product Line
Engineering provides a means of identifying commonalities between the systems to promote the reuse
of the building blocks, while at the same time provide unique requirements of special contexts. This
principle can be entitled with mass customization. The principle is visualized in figure 3.

Figure 3: The product line engineering visualized (Apel et al, 2016).

The building blocks (features) are used in product-line engineering to specify and communicate
commonalities and differences of the systems between stakeholders, to guide structure, reuse, and
variation (Pohl et al., 2005) and (Apel et al., 2016). Moreover, developing farm exploited with Internet
of Things and other ICT technologies for every individual farmer is costly, time-consuming and probably
not feasible. It is not possible to use IoT system architecture used at one farm in another farm since
every farm is unique. For instance, given a smart farmer (who deploys IoT technologies extensively)
and a traditional farmer (who hardly use any IoT technology), it will not be possible for that traditional
farmer to copy directly what the smart farmer has deployed since a one-size-fit-all architecture will
not suffice (Apel et al., 2016). This concept can be envisioned for the agricultural sector.

Vision
In general the current approach consists of an uniform crop and soil management, while the literature
indicates that a site-specific crop and soil management can be the right measurement to increase the
yield with less input. However, to make the transition from present to future approach involves
improved sampling and sensing as shown in figure 4. This can be accomplished by exploiting
technology to the farms. However, the prevalence of helping farmers exploiting technology is very low.

Taken everything together this thesis foresees two overall objectives (i) to bring developed tools from
the laboratory to the farm. And (ii) to accelerate the adoption technology in the agriculture for securing
sufficient and healthy food with a more efficient use of resources. This thesis will focus on the

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development of a sustainable and user-friendly tool for farmers to exploit their farm with technology.
The tool will be backed with a model that is driven by the principles of product line engineering.

Figure 4: The present approach and future approach visualized.

1.2 Research approach


The object under study is the application of product line engineering for smart farming technologies.
The product lines will help building the tool that will help farmers configure their system. To reach this
objective, five distinct research steps have been categorized. The first step of the research contains a
literature study. The literature study covers two aspects (i) obtaining knowledge about the
phenomenon Internet of Things and product line engineering; and (ii) defining features for arable
farming based on literature.

The literature is used to form design propositions on expected feature diagrams and to fill the feature
diagrams with content. During the second step of the research the feature diagrams are modelled, the
obtained literature provides a good overview of the possible features within the arable farming
domain. The third step contains facility visits and interviews of two use cases, and focuses on the
application of the feature diagram in a context-specific situation, and to verify the chosen features and
develop diagram. In step four the tool has been designed to assist farmers with the configuration of
their future smart farm. Finally, step five contains the overall results in the form of a discussion and
conclusion about the application of product line engineering for smart farming and the corresponding
tool. An overview of the consecutive steps of the research is represented in figure 5 from left to right.

Figure 5: Visualisation of the research steps.

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1.3 Objective and research questions
As discussed in section 1.1, there is a need to develop feature diagrams succeeding the product line
engineering and an assisting configuration tool for arable farming. Therefore this thesis will build upon
this problem at stake. This resulted in the following research objective:

We can derive feature diagrams for arable farming following the product line engineering
approach to develop a tool for farmers to configure their smart farm.

To achieve the objective by answering the following questions.

1. How can a system based on product line engineering enhance the system configuration for
individual farmers in the arable farming domain?

2. What are the features in the arable farming domain?

3. How can we validate that the feature diagram will enhance the arable farming domain?

1.4 Report structure


The report is structured as following: section 1 introduces the research project and its context. Section
2, related work, consists of two parts (i) it describes the impact of Internet of Things and profiles the
architectural view, and (ii) describes product lines engineering and its development process. Section 3
presents the methodology involving three parts (i) the feature modelling, (ii) facility visits and
interviews, and (iii) application engineering for the two use cases. Section 4 identifies the features and
presents the feature diagrams. Section 5 presents the configuration tool and tests it with the context-
specific application of a case. Lastly, section 6 discusses the thesis and section 7 draws conclusions.

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2. Related Work
Over the last years Internet of Things technology emerged, various scholars in the field of Internet of
Things have published articles. Product line engineering copes with the ability to adopt to change. The
combination of both could be a strong partnership in order to help farmers enabling technology. This
section covers the related work in Internet of Things and product line engineering.

2.1 Internet of Things


This section is divided in background of the Internet of Things, definitions of IoT, and different
architectures that can be used to portray Internet of Things.

“If things become active internet users on behalf of humans, then the number of active
connections would be measured in terms of tens or hundreds of billions. By connecting the things, the
internet would achieve ubiquity 1, in every sense of the word (Singh, 2017)”.

2.1.1 Defining Internet of Things


To understand smart farming the phenomenon of Internet of Things has be to understood as well since
these two concepts are closely related. It can be stated that smart farming makes use of IoT
(Sundmaeker et al., 2016). While the term ‘Internet of Things’ is relatively new, the concept of
combining computers and networks to monitor and control devices has been around for decades.
Internet connectivity became the norm of many business applications and is today an integral part of
many enterprises. The internet usage focuses mostly on human interaction and monitoring through
applications and interfaces (Verdouw et al., 2016).

Moreover, with today’s developments internet is heading into a new era of ubiquity, where users of
the internet will be counted in billions with human become the minority as generators and receivers
of information. Instead, most information traffic will flow between devices and things enabling a wider
and more complex Internet of Things (Peña-Lopez, 2005), and that is the next stage of the internet in
which also physical things communicate with each other (Verdouw et al., 2016).

In general, the term Internet of Things is used to describe a network of every devices and other objects
equipped with chips and sensors that can collect and transmit data through the Internet. This term is
coined for the first time Kevin Ashton in 1999 where he observed developments in which an electronic
tag could be put on every single object in the world, allowing each to be uniquely tracked and
potentially controlled, and to do so in the most cost effective way. Therefore the data needed to be
stored elsewhere with the Internet the obvious place to start. Hence the phrase “Internet of Object”
or “Internet of Things” (McFarlane, 2015). There is no single, universally accepted definition for this
term.

To understand in which way they describe Internet of Things key points are emphasized. As table 2
aggregates different definitions about IoT.

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The fact of being everywhere – omnipresence.

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Table 2: Definitions of Internet of Things.

Creator of definition Definition on Internet of Things


Oxford Dictionaries a The interconnection via the internet of computing devices embedded in everyday
objects, enabling them to send and receive data.
Peña-Lopez, 2005 b The IoT is a paradigm in which computing and networking capabilities are embedded
in any kind of object.
Ashton, 2009 c A system in which computers are empowered to observe, identity and understand
objects in the physical world by sensor technology connected to the internet.
Uckelmann et al., 2011 d Computer network of smart things where physical and virtual ‘things’ have identities,
physical attributes, virtual personalities and use intelligent interfaces.
International Telecommunication A global infrastructure for the information society, enabling advances services by
Union, 2012 e interconnecting (physical and virtual) things based on existing and evolving
interoperable information and communication technologies.
Tschofenig et al., 2015 f Many of these devices, often called ‘smart objects’, are not directly operated by
humans, but exist as components in buildings or vehicles, or are spread out in the
environment.
Sethi and Sarangi, 2017 g The IoT devices are embedded with sensors, actuators, processors, transceivers and
connected real-time to the internet. IoT is not a single technology; it is a collection of
different technologies and devices that are working together.
Tekinerdogan et al., 2017 h The Internet of things is the internetworking of people and physical devices that
enable the collection and exchange of data.

The definitions have in common to express Internet of Things in terms of devices embedded with
technology connected to the internet. Though differently emphasized, the definitions refer to devices
embedded with technology to send and receive data [a, b, c, d, h] and a common synonym for those devices
is smart objects [f]. Next to that IoT exhibit clearly the different technologies working together [e, f, g, h]
to create a system of smart objects connected to the internet to work together [e, g]. And finally the
systems of smart objects are able to create a global infrastructure by interconnecting those systems’
smart objects [a, e, f].

To conclude, ‘Internet of Things’, consists of three categories (1) with technology embedded devices
connected to the internet to communicate with each other, (2) consisting of multiple communication
technologies and (3) standard communication protocols need to be defined for two reasons. First of
all (i) to enable communication among the devices within a system and secondly (ii) to facilitate
communication between different systems.

When talking about Internet of Things, this study shall, in accordance with (Sethi & Sarangi, 2017) refer
to IoT as “In order to achieve smart systems of intelligence and interconnection, the IoT devices are
embedded with sensors, actuators, processors, transceivers and connected real-time to the internet.
Importantly to note is that IoT is not a single technology; it is a collection of different technologies and
devices that are working together. In the IoT every device (things or smart object) is uniquely
identifiable which lead to a deeply embedded internet in the daily life of businesses, consumers and
other actors within the network.

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This suits the aims of the study, namely to develop feature diagrams to configure smart farms for the
arable farming domain. The smart objects are inevitable for the farms of tomorrow, while multiple
technologies will emerge at the farm in order to co-create the system considering the communication
protocol for possible future integration. Another reason for integrating multiple technologies with a
protocol is to avoid vendor lock-in (AIOTI, 2015). Elaborated on the definition the focus goes to the
question about the impact of IoT.

2.1.2 Impact of Internet of Things


With continuously increasing computer power and falling hardware prices, which is still in line with
Moore’s Law2, it is getting economically feasible to connect anything to the internet. Sensors are
already available at competitive prices, therefore all things will be smart and connected to the internet.
It provides opportunities for greater communication and new data-driven services based on the
increased analytics capabilities (World Economic Forum, 2015). With Internet of Things it is possible to
interconnect more and smaller devices cheaply and easily which enables:

 Ubiquitous connectivity: Low-cost with high-speed network connectivity through wireless


services and technology makes almost everything connectable.
 Miniaturization: Advances in manufacturing allows computing and communications
technology to be integrated into very small objects. Coupled with Moore’s Law that has driven
the progress of small and inexpensive sensors devices that drive many IoT applications.
 Advances in data analytics: new algorithms and increases in computer power, data storage and
cloud services enable the accumulation and analysis of large data amounts derived from the
smart objects.
 Cloud computing: It leverages remote computing to process, manage, and store data. It allows
devices to interact with powerful analytic and control capabilities (Rose et al., 2015).

Since the agriculture is experimenting with IoT technology to incorporate into their system. The arable
farming sector has ambitions as increasing production for food with the same of less input. At the same
time, the sector faces challenges as stopping loss of soil fertility, prevent of groundwater pollution and
gather knowledge about crop growth (Beers, 2017). The combination of both hardware and software
technologies, the Internet of Things is able to track and count everything which can significantly
contribute to be more efficient with input, reduce the waste, lost and cost. It enables to link sensors
networks, earth observation systems, crop growth models and yield analysis tools. With the help of
IoT technologies, data on key variables such as soil, climate conditions, growth of plants and weed or
disease prevalence can be combined to a meaningful way and addressing the challenges on resource
scarcity and ecological footprint challenges (Sundmaeker et al., 2016; Verdouw et al., 2016; Verdouw
et al., 2016).

It is also important to remark that according AIOTI (2015) the application of IoT can bring impact not
only to highly technological exploitations, but also to systems with a medium and, more important,
even lower degree of technological adoption. There is room for IoT-induced improvements in all cases,
although the application case and technology selection may vary for different degrees of technology.
Following the expectations of the World Economic Forum (2015) IoT is expected to reach its tipping
point by 2022, together with the potential for agriculture it is expected to have a considerable impact

2
Moore’s Law states that the overall number of transistors in a central processing unit, or processor speed will
double every two years (Moore, 1965).

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on future farms’ performance. The question remains how the architecture of a farm embedded with
IoT looks like.

2.1.3 Architecture of IoT


There is not yet a consensus on an architecture for IoT which is generally agreed upon. There are
diverse architectures proposed and two types of architectures proposed most commonly are: three-
and different five-layer architectures (Sethi & Sarangi, 2017). The IoT architectures are shown in figure
6. These will be briefly discussed and recommended which is the most applicable for the agricultural
domain.

Figure 6: The three- and five-layer architecture for Internet of Things (Gaitan et al.,
2015), Adapted.

The three-layer architecture (figure 6, a) was introduced in the early stage of Internet of Things
research. The three layers consists of the perception, network and application layers. Layer 1 is called
to perception layer representing hardware made up of sensors for sensing and that collects
information of at various points to measure the parameters of interest. Physical parameters are sensed
or identifies other objects in the environment. The perception layer includes 2-D barcodes tag reader,
RFID tags, cameras, GPSs and sensors (Gaitan, Gheorghita & Ungurean, 2015). The second, The
network layer ensures the connectivity among other smart things, network devices and servers. As
well it is responsible for the transmitting and processing data from the sensors. Lastly, the application
layer is responsible for delivering application specific services to the end-user through software tools
and API’s (International Telecommunication Union, 2012).

There are five-layer architectures which includes additional layers. Figure 6.b provides an overview of
the variously proposed Internet of Things architectures and the different names for the layers. The
perception layer represents the sense devices that deals mainly with object identification and data
collection. It is comparable to the perception layer of the three layer architecture (Wu et al., 2010). In
(International Telecommunication Union, 2012) layer one is named the device layer with two
elements: devices and gateway. Where layer 1 is called the sensing layer as an innovative proposal to
fuse RFID technologies with wireless sensor networks called EPC sensor network (Wu et al., 2010).

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The second layer has the main functionality in transmission and processing of information. It is called
transport layer by Wu et al. (2010) and defined as neural network that represents the brain of the IoT
network. In Gaitan et al. (2015) this layer is given the name network layer. This layer is responsible to
guide the communication channels for the unique devices from layer 1 (Wu et al., 2010).

The third layer stores, analyses and processes the information received from layer 2. In Wu et al. (2010)
the layer has been called processing layer, in Wang, Lee and Murray (2013) it is named the middleware
layer. The layer where the Internet of Things systems run. Another name for layer 3 is given in
International Telecommunication Union (2012) as service support and application support where this
layer provides generic functionalities for IoT and various applications (like processing and data
storage).

The fourth layer provides services requested by customers such as temperature and humidity
measurements to the customers who ask for that data (Booker, 2017). The so-called applications layer
contains the IoT applications (Tekinerdogan, Köksal & Çelik, 2017).

Finally the fifth layer manages the overall IoT system activities and services. According to Booker (2017)
it monitors and manages the responsibility to be able to build business models, graphs, flowcharts.

Tekinerdogan, Köksal and Çelik (2017) presented a layered view of IoT architecture as shown in figure
7. It is a grouping of modules that offers a cohesive set of services. The first, the device layer, provides
the capabilities for the objects in the network. Next, the network layer, manages functionality for
connectivity and transport capabilities. The session layer is the third includes generic support
capabilities and specific support for IoT devices and particular applications. The fourth, the application
layer contains the IoT application. Additionally the layer located on the left-hand side provides the
device management layer and the layer on the opposite side provides the security (Tekinerdogan,
Köksal & Çelik, 2017).

Application layer

Session layer
Management
Security layer
layer
Network layer

Device layer

Figure 7: Layered view of IoT architecture ((Tekinerdogan, Köksal & Çelik, 2017).

The models presented so far do not yet provide a complete standardization especially without
concrete implementation samples (Gaitan, Gheorghita & Ungurean, 2015). With Booker (2017)
indicating that the efforts to standardizing IoT architectures should be continued providing building
blocks and technologies for Internet of Things.

22
Following the Internet Architecture Board (Rose, Eldridge & Chapin, 2015) which outlines a framework
of three common communication models used by IoT devices. First of all, the device-to-device
communication network. These networks allow devices to communicate and exchange messages,
which use small data packets of information to communicate with relatively low data rate
requirements. This network models forces the user to select a family of devices that employ a common
protocol. Often these devices use protocols like Bluetooth or ZigBee to establish direct device-to-
device communications. The model is shown in figure 8.

Wireless
Device A Device B
Network

Manufacturer A Bluetooth, ZigBee Manufacturer B


Figure 8: Device-to-device communication model diagram (Rose, Eldridge &
Chapin, 2015) Adapted.

Secondly there is a device-to-cloud communication network as shown in figure 8. The IoT devices
connect directly to a cloud service via an application to exchange data and control message traffic. This
approach often makes use of existing communication systems like wired Ethernet or Wi-Fi to establish
a connection between the device and cloud service. The challenge can arise regarding interoperability
when attempting to integrate devices made by different manufacturers. Therefore, the device and
cloud service are from the same vendor (Rose, Eldridge & Chapin, 2015).

Application service
provider

Device A Device B

Figure 9: Device-to-cloud communication model diagram (Rose, Eldridge &


Chapin, 2015) Adapted.

As third there is a device-to-gateway model as shown in figure 10. There is an application software
operating on a local gateway device that acts as an intermediary between the device and cloud service.
The intermediary provides security and other functionalities as data of protocol translation. This
approach is used in situation where the smart objects require interoperability with non-Internet
protocol devices. A downside of this approach is that the application-layer adds complexity and cost.

23
Application
service
provider

Local gateway

Layer 1 protocol
Bluetooth
Device A Wi-Fi Device B
LR-WPAN

Figure 10: Device-to-gateway communication model diagram (Rose, Eldridge & Chapin, 2015)
Adapted.

The layered views and basic communication models demonstrate that the underlying design strategies
can differentiate from another to allow IoT devices to communicate. The interoperability and open
standards are key thoughts to consider in the design and development of IoT systems. The devices
ultimately connect to data analytics services in a cloud computing setting to get more value out of IoT
data by data aggregation, data visualization, and predictive analytics.

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2.2 Product line Engineering
This section is divided in background of systems and software product line engineering (PLE),
definitions of PLE, additional benefits using PLE and modelling.

2.2.1 Defining product line engineering


Born in the 1980s with the beginning of mass customization Parnas (1976) introduced the concept that
it is advantageous to study the common properties of the products before analyzing individual
products. Instead of offering a standardized product it meant the large-scale production of goods
tailored to the customers’ needs. The basic idea of a product line (Davis, 1987).

Product line engineering goes one step further as being an approach for engineering a portfolio of
related products. Systems and Software Product Line Engineering, abbreviated as Product Line
Engineering or PLE is a paradigm to develop the entire family rather than distinctly engineering each
member. Numerous case studies demonstrate that exploiting the commonality can return significant
improvements in time to market, costs, portfolio scalability, to cope with evolution and product quality
(Pohl et al., 2005; Apel et al., 2016). To understand the key points of product line engineering table 3
provides an overview of the different definitions.

Table 3: Definitions of product line engineering.

Creator of definition Definitions on PLE


Oxford Dictionaries A set of application programs that are built from a common set of software modules.
A software PLE implies a formal procedure for designing the modules based on
predicting how they can be reused to solve a variety of problems.
Clements & Northrop, 2002 A software PLE is a set of software-intensive systems sharing a common, managed
set of features that satisfy specific needs of a certain market. And the system is
developed from a common set of core components in a prescribed way.
McGregor, 2004 The PLE approach aims to efficiently derive specific products from a given domain
based on reusable core assets that have common feature and variable parts.
Pohl et. al, 2005 PLE can be defined as a paradigm to design architectures based on a core
architecture that captures the high level design for the products of PLE, including the
variation points and variants documented in the variability model.
Clements, 2015 PLE is a discipline to engineer a portfolio of related products in an efficient manner,
taking full advantage of the products’ similarities while respecting and managing
their differences.
Apel et al., 2016 A set of products in a product portfolio that share similarities created of reusable
parts. The combination of customization and shared similarities gave the opportunity
to reuse the common base and to fulfill the customers’ wishes”.
Krueger et al., 2017 PLE is an approach for engineering a portfolio of related products in an efficient
manner, using the advantage of the products’ similarities while respecting and
managing their differences. The term ‘engineer’ includes all the activities as planning,
producing, delivering, deploying, sustaining, and retiring products.

The definition have in common to express Product Line Engineering as a portfolio of related products
(members) derived from a shared common base (family). Next to that PLE enables mass customization
with efficient means of productions while respecting the customers’ wishes. This is done by using the
products’ similarities while managing their differences. As shown in table 3, the definitions of Product

25
Line Engineering are notably similar. Important to realize is that there are three elements in almost
every definition.

First of all, the product refers to the deliverable. A synonym used in the definitions is systems.
Therefore the portfolio of related products are a set of deliverables. The product can comprise in any
combination of (i) software, (ii) systems in which software run, or (iii) non-software systems.

Secondly, each product uses a shared set of building blocks of the products in the product line. This
refers to common features. Synonyms are assets from a given domain or shared similarities.

Finally, it is designed to manage variations points to exercise mass customization. Synonyms are
differences and variable parts.

To summarize, Product Line Engineering is a portfolio of related products using a shared set of common
features designed to manage variation points.

2.2.2 Feature-Oriented Product Line


Kang et al. (1990) defines features are a prominent or distinctive user-visible aspect, quality, or
characteristics of a system. The concept of a features are used in the PLE to specify and communicate
commonalities and variations of the products between stakeholders. And on the other hand to guide
structure, vary, and reuse (Apel et al., 2016).

First thing to remember is that the product portfolio of a product line is defined by the features and
their relations. A specific product is identified by a certain list of features the so-called feature
selection. A feature selection is valid if it fulfills all constraints (Krueger et al., 2017). The development
process for PLE has to take into account two key activities. The systematic reuse of common features
and the explicit handling of variability.

Commonalities and variabilities


The systematic reuse of commonalities represents features that are part of each application in exactly
the same form. The common features can be mapped following three methods. First of all, to map the
relevant basic features for every application in the arable farming domain. Secondly, an indicator for a
common feature is by having a high priority for a large group of users, while others farmers do not
reject it. Lastly, it is useful to define features that might be of interest in the future as common feature,
foreseeable basic needs (Pohl et al., 2005). The commonalities of the systems are identified and
documented in terms of features in a feature model (Apel et al., 2016).

The explicit handling of variability is the ability to derive different products from a common set of
features. Webber and Gomaa (2004) conducted a survey of variability methods and mentioned four
different approach to model variability. The downside however is that these methods not cope the
common features, and focus only on variability modelling. There are four different variation points
types have been modelled: parameterization, information hiding, inheritance, and using variation
points (Webber & Gomaa, 2004).

Where Czarnecki et al. (2012) discussed the feature and decision modelling as existing approaches to
model variability. And concluded that the main difference between feature modelling and decision
modelling is that feature modelling supports both commonality and variability modelling, where
decision modelling focuses only on variability modelling. Consequently, Apel et al. (2016) discussed

26
that a common approach of feature modelling is to express variability in terms of common and optional
features. A key success factor of product line development is to set a well-defined domain to derive
the right features and to make a clear separation between domain engineering and application
engineering.

2.2.3 Domain Engineering


Domain engineering is the process of analyzing the domain of a product line and developing reusable
features. Moreover, it prepares features to be used in products of a product line. In essence domain
engineering is developing the feature diagrams. In domain engineering the scope of the domain is
decided upon, for example: What is the product line’s range? The broader the domain of a product
line, the larger the number of possible stakeholders’ requirements that can be covered in the form of
individually tailored products. However, the broader the domain, the smaller the set of similarities
among products. Additionally to capture relevant features and to identify the common features. This
is documented in a feature model (Apel et al., 2016; Pohl et al., 2005).

2.2.4 Application Engineering


Application engineering has the goal of developing a specific product for a particular customer fulfilling
the customer’s requirements. Boldly stated is that application engineering is making use of the feature
diagrams to derive a product fulfilling the customer’s requirements. It is repeated for every product of
the product line, and reuses common features from domain engineering where possible. If a
customer’s requirement cannot be mapped into an existing features three strategies are possible.

1. The requirement is out of scope of the product line, therefore cannot provide a product with
that specific requirement.
2. Assemble the next best product without this feature and manually extend the resulting
product with custom extension. As a result application engineering requires additional effort.
3. Decide to change the scope of the product line and include the additional requirement as a
new feature or change the existing features. If this is the case, additional time is invested in
domain engineering (Apel et al., 2016) (Pohl et al., 2005).

2.2.5 Feature Modelling


To express variability in terms of common and optional features feature models and feature diagrams
are a common approach as discussed in 2.2.2. The feature model documents the features of a product
line and their relationships. A feature diagram is the graphical notation to specify a feature model and
specifies the set of valid products as shown in figure 11.

Figure 11: An example of a graphical notation of a feature tree diagram.

27
3. Methodology
This chapter describes the methods and techniques that have been implemented in order to
understand arable farming and to derive features from the arable farming domain. This results into a
configuration tool. The section consists of four elements (i) the interviews and farm visits, (ii) how to
use the feature modelling for (iii) domain engineering, and (iv) application engineering with the
configuration tool.

3.1 Interviews and farm visits


This section elaborates on the sample, interviews and facility visits. First the selection of farmers is
elaborated, secondly how the interviews were conducted and the facility visit followed afterwards.
The goal is to get an understanding how arable farms operate, how it is managed, conducted activities
during the year, and which equipment is used by the farmer. The observations described should be as
modest of what actually happened, to create a starting point to capture the features in arable farming.

3.1.1 Selection of farmers


The in-depth interviews and facility visits were conducted with two farmers. The prerequisites were
that the combination of both should give a broad context of approach, techniques and systems
available within arable farming. Therefore one farmer need to work in a traditional manner with little
to no software components involved. While the other farmer exploiting technologies for analyzing and
decision-making. The selected farmers where contacted by known contacts via ZLTO, and Wageningen
University & Research.

Based on the prerequisites two farmers were chosen to participate: Woestenk Aardappelen and Van
den Borne Aardappelen.

3.1.2 Interviews
The goal of the interviews is to get an understanding about the arable farming domain, different
possible approaches in arable farming, and the farmers attitude towards technology involved in the
system. The interviews with the farmers were semi-structured and consisted of pre-formulated open-
questions with room for additional follow-up questions (Boeije, 2009). The interviews can be found in
appendix A.

3.1.3 Facility visits


The facility exploration started after the interview. Both, Woestenk Aardappelen and Van den Borne
Aardappelen, gave a tour on their farm and explained their cultivation cycle, equipment, how the data
is handled, processed, analyzed and stored, and what determines their decision-making. Each visit
resulted in small report which can found in appendix B.

28
3.2 Feature Modelling
A feature diagram is a graphical notation to specify a feature model. It is a tree with a root and nodes,
where root represents a concept and nodes the features. Different notations convey various parent-
child relationships between features. First of all, in general parent features denotes a more general
concept and the child a specialization. Thus, if a feature c is a child of another feature p, feature c can
only be selected if feature p is also selected.

Feature diagrams might show mandatory features as well as features which can be represented as
optional or alternative features. A feature configuration is a set of features which describes a product
of the concept / smart farming in the arable farming domain. The legend used for the feature diagrams
is given in figure 12.
Feature

Mandatory feature

Optional feature

Some-out-of-many where
feature selection equal to [i-j]

One-out-of-many where no
two feature are selected

Figure 12: Legend for the feature diagrams (Köksal & Tekinerdogan, 2017).

Mandatory and optional features are distinguished by a small circle on the child node. A filled bullet
denotes a mandatory feature (b), whereas an empty bullet represents an optional feature (c). A parent
feature with a group of child features are connected with an empty arc (d). This graphical elements
denotes a choice if, at least, one feature of the collection has to be selected, but there are no other
restrictions. The size of the feature group is denoted with cardinality, choose from the set {c1, c2…cn}.

Feature diagrams can be directly mapped to propositional formulas and defining a formal semantics
of feature diagrams. A mandatory feature definition, with a filled bullet, resembles a logical
equivalence, whenever the parents feature is selected the child feature must be too, and vice versa:

𝑚𝑎𝑛𝑑𝑎𝑡𝑜𝑟𝑦(𝑝, 𝑐) = 𝑐 ⇔ 𝑝

An optional feature, with an open bullet, states that the parent feature p may be chosen independently
from c, but the child c can only be chosen if p is selected:

𝑜𝑝𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛𝑎𝑙(𝑝, 𝑐) = 𝑐 ⇒ 𝑝

A some-out-of-many choice, denoted by an empty arc, the selection of p is equal to a disjunction of


the child features:

𝑐ℎ𝑜𝑖𝑐𝑒(𝑝(𝑐1 , … , 𝑐𝑛 ) = (𝑐1 𝑉 … 𝑉 𝑐𝑛 ) ⇔ 𝑝

29
A one-out-of-many choice is denoted by a filled arc, it ensure for each pair of child features that no
two child features are selected together:

𝑎𝑙𝑡𝑒𝑟𝑛𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑣𝑒(𝑝(𝑐1 , … , 𝑐𝑛 ) = ((𝑐1 𝑉 … 𝑉 𝑐𝑛 ) ⇔ 𝑝) ⋀ ¬(𝑐1 ⋀ 𝑐𝑛 )

These notational elements of feature diagrams support a wide range of variability schemata but not
all. Additionally, constraint can span large parts of the feature diagram, named cross-tree constraints.
Those additional constraints are added as arrows or in textual form to the diagram, it is self-
explanatory for the presented feature diagrams.

3.3 Domain Engineering


Domain engineering is the process of analysing the domain of the whole product line and developing
reusable features. It prepares the features to be used in multiple, if not all, products of the product
line. Here the scope of the domain need to be decided, to put it differently, decide which products
should be covered by the product line and which features are relevant and could be implemented as
reusable features (Apel et al., 2016).

First of all determine the scope of this research. As mentioned in the introduction the product line’s
range is narrowed down to arable farming. Smart farming includes different domains, according the
Internet of Food and Farm 2020 project smart farming is divided as shown in figure 13. To study a
domain in greater depth a narrow scope within the agriculture is chosen. The additional benefit of a
narrow scope is that the set of similarities among products in the product line is larger. As a result it is
easier to capture relevant features and to identify the common features (Apel et al., 2016).

Figure 13: Arable farming is the scope of the research (Beers, 2017).

Secondly the features need to be captured. The relevant features are based on the layered
architecture. As a result the features are ordered by layer. The device layer represents the physical
objects the hardware. The network layer aims at the connectivity and transport capabilities between
the hardware and upper layers. Therefore named communication features. The session and
application layer are taken together in a feature diagram named labelled platform. Additionally there
is a fourth layer and it represent available services for a (smart) farm. To express the service features
among the three diagrams creates inconsistent trees. Therefore features representing additional
farming services are mapped in another diagram, named services. Management and security layer are
out of scope in this research. This results in the following feature tree set-up shown in figure 14.

Figure 14: Feature tree set-up.

30
Based on the feature tree set-up complementary features are added to the higher level features, these
are derived from articles available on scholar.google.com. The article search is done unsystematically
and the selection is based on the title and abstract. Features resulting from articles for the feature tree
are presented in a table.

Eventually each potential feature is reviewed again by researching the specific feature. The result of
the review resulted in a feature definition. The feature tree is accompanied with a table of all feature
definitions.

For the sake of simplicity feature trees aimed to have a maximum of four layers. The size of the feature
tree exceeded the readability therefore each category is presented in a separated paragraph in chapter
four.

3.4 Application Design


The final step was the design of the configuration tool following product line engineering. Based on
the feature diagrams was the development of a tool for the arable farming domain. This resulted in a
live application for farmers to configure a system that exploits technologies

3.4.1 Website
The website is created as a portal for farmers to explore available technologies for their farm. The
website emphasizes two elements. First of all, this research to find the reasoning behind the tool. And
secondly a portal to the tool. The website is created with Wordpress.

3.4.2 Configuration tool


Successively of the development of the features diagrams was a way to exploit derived features for an
arable farm. This resulted in a tool initially based on Google Forms. The tool is written from the
perspective of the farmer and their problems at stake. The interviews and farm visits provided a solid
base in terms of structuring the form. The form is filled with ‘what-if’ conditions to respect the feature
diagram’s constraints.

The tool is backed with the feature tree diagrams. The configuration tool is tested whether or not it
meet the needs to guide a farmer through the product configuration process. This process is done
iteratively in order to generate solid feature trees and a strong tool to configure a future product.
Additionally Woestenk Aardappelen tested the configuration model. The process of the configuration
is shown in figure 15. The users fill in the form that stores the results in Google Sheets. A Google Drive
API and Python enables the authentication and retrieve the stored values. Stored temporarily a Python
function formats the results and stores it as a PDF-file. This PDF-file is automatically send by email to
the user. As a result, the users receivers automatically the results of the configuration.

31
Python
gspread
Google Form Google Sheet
Oauth 2 Oauth2client Temp. storage
StoreEachUser

Form Data
users

gspread
Mail
Receiving results Formatting
Mailclient

Python

Figure 15: The process of farm configuration.

32
4. Domain Engineering
This section elaborates on the features of the whole arable farming domain and aims to answer the
research question: “What are the features in the arable farming domain?”. The structure of this
chapter is: paragraph 4.1 reports on the results of the hardware features. Subsequently, paragraph 4.2
the communication features. Paragraph 4.3 presents the results of the available platforms and lastly,
paragraph 4.4 shows the features of services. Figure 16 provides a visualized overview of chapter four.

Figure 16: The structure of chapter four.

4.1 Hardware feature tree


All the hardware features together create the feature tree shown in figure 17. The hardware features
are derived from multiple articles and provided with a description in table 5. The hardware tree is
divided in three main categories (i) sensors, (ii) actuators, and (iii) gateways. The structure of the tree
is based on the perception layer that represents the physical layer and the farm visits. Sensors
gathering data from the fields and farm, the actuators acting on the perceived data, and the gateways
sending the data forward through the network (Gaitan, Gheorghita & Ungurean, 2015).

At van den Borne Aardappelen sensors are used in a broad spectrum each having their own task. A few
sensors are conceived as the building blocks of farming by mapping soil properties or monitoring crop
growth while other sensors have more specific task like mapping the resistance of soil or to test food
quality with biological sensors.

An actuators is the mechanism by which a control system acts upon the environment based on the
collected information. The control signal converts energy into motion. The energy source required to
generate motion differs has different energy sources. It can be hydraulic fluid pressure, pneumatic
pressure, electric energy, thermal energy or mechanical movement (SCME, 2011). Van de Borne utilize
actuators on equipment for example the use of compressed air for the placement of potatoes seeds.
And gateways as a network node equipped for interfacing with another network that uses different
protocols is considered as the edge of the hardware layer (Mukhopadhyay, 2012).

Additionality there are three points worth mentioning based on this feature tree. First of all, remote
sensing systems can be utilized in various ways as being one of the most important source of
information. It provides crop growth information to improve the yield. The remote sensing system
depends on the numbers of spectral bands used (Ruiz et al., 2008). A system can differ from a single
channel detector that acquire an image with one spectral band to images consisting about a hundred
or more contiguous spectral bands. The spectral bands an image contains the better the level of
characterization and identification of surface elements (Kerle et al., 2004). The remote sensing systems
can be used from the ground with optical sensors mounted on the vehicles and from the air with

33
camera’s attached on UAV’s, planes or satellites. Van den Borne Aardappelen experiments with both
ground and aerial based.

Secondly, the technique is varying in complexity. A sensor can be used for to measure the temperature
in the storage barns to keep the yield in optimal conditions as it is done at Woestenk. To vehicles
embedded with computer vision systems to operate autonomously (in the fields) (Yang et al., 2010).
Guiding the vehicles through the fields by detecting and localizing plants accurately. Or detecting and
removing fennel and parts of the plant unfit for the market (Milella et al., 2006).

Figure 17: Hardware feature tree.

34
Table 4: Hardware feature tree definitions.

Hardware features Description


Sensors A device that receives and responds to a signal (Yasuura et al., 2018).
Electrochemical Measurement of soil chemistry through tests such as pH or nutrients levels
(Schriber, n.d.).
Mechanical Measure soil compaction (Schriber, n.d.).
Acoustic Able to analyze the captured audio signal for large periods of time. Is used for the
early detection of the red palm weevil (Rach et al., 2013).
Ultrasonic Determine gaps and / or heights between crops for more effective and efficient
fertilizer and pesticide distribution (Jeon et al., 2011)
Electromagnetic To measure soil properties that may affect crop productivity (Folnovic, 2017).
Contact Electrodes which penetrates into the soil (Folnovic, 2017).
Non-contact Does not make physical contact with the soil (Folnovic, 2017).
Optical Determine the three main earth surface feature vegetation, water and soil
(Aggarwal, 2004).
Remote sensing systems Remote sensing (RS) is the practice of deriving information about the Earth’s land
and water surfaces using images acquired, using electromagnetic radiation in one
or more regions of the electromagnetic spectrum, reflected or emitted from the
Earth surfaces (Campbell, 2006).
Near-Infrared Useful for food applications, including moisture, fat and protein content
determination with wavelengths of ~750 and ~2500 (Rajendram & Devey, 2018).
Mid-Infrared Provides a molecular fingerprint to investigate simple structures with wavelengths
of ~2500 - ~23500 (Rajendram & Devey, 2018).
Polarized Spectrum Depending on the number of spectral bands used in the imaging process (Ruiz et
al., 2008).
Panchromatic The sensor is a single channel detector sensitive to radiation within a broad
wavelength range resulting in a ‘black-and-white’ photograph (Kerle et al., 2004).
Multispectral The sensor is a multichannel detector with a few spectral bands. Each channel is
sensitive to radiation within a narrow wavelength band resulting in a multilayer
image with brightness and color information of the observed target (Kerle et al.,
2004).
Super spectral A super spectral imaging sensor has many more spectral channels (typically >10)
than a multispectral sensor. The bands have narrower bandwidths, enabling the
finer spectral characteristics of the targets to be captured by the sensor (Kerle et
al., 2004).
Hyperspectral A hyperspectral imaging system is also known as an "imaging spectrometer". it
acquires images in about a hundred or more contiguous spectral bands, the image
enables better characterization and identification of target (Kerle et al., 2004).
Sensor status The status of the sensor.
Active Active sensors have its own source of light and its sensor measure reflected energy
from the crop canopy (Souza et al., 2017).
Passive Passive sensors measures reflected energy from the target that was emitted from
the sun (Souza et al., 2017).
Sensor location The location of the sensor.
Ground A sensor gather information from a platform located on the ground (vehicles or
(handheld) devices) (Campbell, 2006).
Aerial A sensor gather information from an airborne platform (manned or unmanned)
(Campbell, 2006).

35
Hardware features Description
Biological Determine the quality, food safety or monitoring environmental pollution (Rigi et
al., 2013).
Actuators A device that converts energy into motion or force to move a load. That motion can
be in any form, such as blocking, clamping or ejecting. Actuators can be categorized
by the energy source they require to generate motion (SCME, 2011).
Hydraulic Convert pressure energy of the fluid into mechanical energy (SCME, 2011).
Pneumatic Convert compressed air into machinal motion (SCME, 2011).
Thermal Convert thermal energy into movement (SCME, 2011).
Electric Next generation motion control compared to hydraulic and pneumatic actuators
(SCME, 2011).
Mechanical Converts a mechanical input (usually rotary) into motion (SCME, 2011)..

Gateways A network node equipped for interfacing with another network that uses different
protocols (Mukhopadhyay, 2012).

4.2 Communication feature tree


In figure 18 the feature diagram of communication is shown. The communication features are provided
with a description in table 6. The feature diagram contains of three of categories (i) wired connection,
(ii) wireless connection, and (iii) cellular connection. The variety of applications causes that the used
communication technologies are diverse depending on the characteristics.

First of all the wired connection enables a connection between two or more entities by wire. The
ethernet connection ensures a wired internet connection between devices. Those devices can either
be the source or destination of data (e.g. sensors or PC’) or an intermediate network device that
receives or forwards data like a modem or gateways (Ford et al., 1997). Communication protocols for
the ethernet connection is based on IPv4 or its successor IPv6.

The agricultural machinery equipped with monitoring capabilities, sensors and or actuators rely on the
standards such as CANBUS and ISOBUS. The CANBUS functions as the nervous system enabling
communication between devices of the machine (HPL, 2002). THE CANBUS can consists of different
electronic control units (ECU), each having its own function. The universal terminal displays the
information provided by the ECUs. The CANBUS can be added to other equipment as well such as a
sprayer or plough. Connected to the sprayers it is e.g. possible to enable section control with the task
controller section control ECU. A module can be connected to the CANBUS to get access to the log
from a CANBUS via Wi-Fi. The CANBUS implement connects the GNNS receiver, the display and the ISO
connector in the rear of the tractor (Deere & Company, 2013). The ISO connector can extend the
tractor implement CANBUS to the implement attached (for example fertilizer). This extension results
in the implement and tractor communicating over the same CANBUS system with ISOBUS providing
the standard protocol. (Lenz et al., 2007). Van den Borne Aardappelen equipped the machinery with
CANBUS and is able to connect different ECUs to it for example to enable section control or location.

Wireless communication is seen as the broad concept that is achieved using various technologies
(object communication, WLAN, WPAN, LPWAN and cellular). RFID and NFC both are technologies used
to send information of an object to a receiver (Strömmer et al., 2007). WLAN is a wireless computer
network using IEEE802.11 known as WiFi. With WPAN representing a network which covers an area

36
of only a few dozen meters (Park & Rappaport, 2007), and LPWAN being a network for the longer
distances (Linklabs, 2016). The cellular network is divided in different generation while the third (3G)
and fourth (4G) generation has many alternatives the feature denoted with ‘….’. To summarize, each
network has different protocols and has its own characteristics (AIOTI, 2015).

Figure 18: Communication feature tree.

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Table 5: Communication feature tree definitions

Communication features Description


Wired Enables connection between nodes in the network through a wire
(Goodman, 2017).
802.3 Ethernet The family of local-area network (LAN) products covered by the
IEEE802.3 standard (Ford et al., 1997).
Data terminal equipment (DTE) Devices that are either the source or the destination of data (PC’s or
workstations) (Ford et al., 1997).
Data communication equipment Intermediate network device that receive and forward (Ford et al.,
(DCE) 1997).
Standalone devices Repeaters, network switches and routers (Ford et al., 1997).
Communication interface units Modems (Ford et al., 1997).
CANBUS The Controller Area Network (CANBUS) is the nervous system that
runs from the front of the machine to the rear, enabling
communication between devices of the machine (HPL, 2002).
Electronic control units The electronic control units are the devices in a CANBUS (HPL, 2002).
Universal terminal Has the capability of operating an implement with any terminal (AEF,
2015).
Auxiliary control Facilitates the operation of complex equipment such as a joysticks,
also the ability to control implements functions by means of an
additional control element (AEF, 2015).
Tractor ECU Supplies all the available tractor data such as speed and RPM
according to ISO11786 standards (AEF, 2015).
Task controller geo-based Capability of acquiring location-based data – or planning of location-
based jobs (AEF, 2015).
Task controller section control Automatic switching of section based on GNSS location and sensor
observation (AEF, 2015).
Implement ECU Allows an implement to automatically control specific functions such
as the forward speed or valves (AEF, 2015).
WiFi CANBUS A module to get access to the log data from a CANBUS without the
use of a computer (CSSElectronics, n.d.).
Protocol A procedure accepted and used by developers (Meenu & Gupta,
2014).
IPv4 One of the standard internetworking methods for routing the
internet traffic (Nicols et al., 1998).
IPv6 IP version 6 is a new version of the Internet Protocol designed as the
successor to IP version 4 (Deering, 1998).
ISOBUS A standard protocol to enable ECUs, connected on an in-vehicle
network, to communicate with each other (Lenz et al., 2007).
ISO11786 The communication protocol for agricultural machinery which
includes CANBUS (Lenz et al., 2007).
Wireless Enables multiple devices to more around within the network area
freely and still maintain a connection to the internet (Goodman,
2017).
Object Identification Every object has a unique, unchanging identity object instances
reference (Barry, 2003).
RFID Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is a technology, which
communicate information about an object through radio waves. The
information is recorded on an electronic tag (RFID tag) attached on

38
Communication features Description
the object and transferred to a reader when requested (Fescioglu-
Unver et al., 2015).
NFC Near field communication (NFC) is a very short-range (max. 20 cm,
but typically only a few cm), wireless point-to-point interconnection
technology. It enables users of handheld electronic devices to access
content and services in an intuitive way by simply "touching" smart
objects (Strömmer et al., 2007).
WLAN 802.11 The wireless LANs (WLAN) is wireless computer network that links
two or more devices using IEEE802.11 standards. Maximum data
rate: 11 Mbit/s (Banerji & Chowdhury, 2013).
WPAN 802.15 A (WPAN) wireless personal area network is a low range wireless
network which covers an area of only a few dozens of meters (Park &
Rappaport, 2007).
Bluetooth A widely used WPAN technology to enable up to 8 devices to
communicate wirelessly. Maximum data rate: 1-3 Mbit/s (Lee et al.,
2007).
ZigBee Low-rate WPAN (LR-WPAN) operating on the basic layers of the
802.15.4 and applies the mesh topology3. The most popular, low-
cost, low-power wireless mesh networking standard. Maximum data
rate: 250 kbit/s (Lee et al., 2007).
6LoWPAN Low-Power WPAN that combines IPv6. Allows for the smallest devices
with limited processing power ability to transmit information
wirelessly. It’s the newest competitor to ZigBee (Ray, 2014).
LPWAN Low-Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN) is used when other
wireless networks are not a good fit (Bluetooth, WiFi and ZigBee).
Suited for connecting devices that needs to send small amounts of
data over a long range (LinkLabs, 2016).
Cellular A radio network distributed over land where each cell has a fixed
location transceiver known as base station. Together provide radio
coverage over larger geographical areas (Frantz & Carley, 2005).
2G Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM) is a second
generation (2G) standard for mobile networks making use of cells of
a cellular network (Halonen et al., 2004).
GSM Global system for mobile communications is the standard by which
the vast majority of mobile handsets communicate. Most GSM are
primarily used for voice but can be used for mobile internet access
via GPRS (Clove, n.d.).
2.5G General Packet Radio Services (GPRS) was created as an addition to
the GSM network for a higher volume of data, enhanced to the 2.5g
status. GPRS is compatible with 2G and 3G networks. Maximum data
rate: 114Kbp/s (Halonen et al., 2004).
GPRS GPRS is a system used to transmit data to send and receive emails
and to browse the internet. It is a tried and tested system and
therefore reliable for standard mobile data use (Clove, n.d.)
3G An upgrade from the 2G standard enabling cloud computing.
Maximum data rate: 384 Kbp/s. Not compatible with the 2G
infrastructure (Halonen et al., 2004).

3
The main benefit of the mesh topology is that any node can communicate with any other node, if not directly
if within range, but indirectly by relaying the transmission through multiple additional nodes (Fig. 5). The

39
Communication features Description
UMTS Third generation (3G) of mobile telecommunication technology. Not
covered everywhere, UMTS devices out of UMTS network boundaries
will be transferred to GSM coverage (Halonen et al., 2004).
LTE Long Term Evolution first step towards 4G. LTE requires brand new
network technology and masts which means that devices will need to
have a compatible receiver (Clove, n.d.)

4G The fourth generation of cellular technology with download speeds
comparable to the broadband internet. Maximum data rate:
100Mbp/s, while some 4G network boasting to 1Gbp/s (Digital
Trends, 2017).
WiMAX Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access represents the
fourth generation (4G) of wireless Internet. Similar to Wi-Fi but
covers vast distances (Andrews, Ghosh & Muhamed, 2007).
LTE-Advanced Is the lasest incarnation of 4G technology, and regarded as a stepping
stone towards 5G. Instead of connecting to one frequency band, LTE-
A downloads data through multiple frequency bands (Digital Trends,
2017).

40
4.3 Platform feature tree
The feature diagram of the platform tree is shown in figure 19. The platform features are provided
with a description in table 7. The feature diagram contains of four of categories (i) platform, (ii) farm
management information system, and (iii) software. Once data is retrieved from smart devices in the
edge of the network, it is managed, stored and further processed for visualization or other type of
operations through platform, cloud services or management systems. For example FIWIRE is an
European platform aiming to provide interoperability from the underlying protocols and standards
used. Contributing other tools with analytical, visualization and storage purposes (FiWARE, n.d.).

Multiple platforms are available that support and Internet of Things environment. With a farm
management information system it is also possible to integrate and link smart systems in order to carry
out a farm’s operations and functions (Fountas et al., 2015). On the platform different software
(packages) can be applied to interact with the obtained data for further analysis or farm management.

Figure 19: Platform feature tree.

41
Table 6: Platform feature tree definitions.

Platform features Description


Platforms A system that makes its data available both to users and to external
system that can be built upon the platform (OpenReferral, n.d.)
FIWARE Provides a cloud environment with a set of open standard APIs that make
it easier to connect to the IoT, process and analyze data or advanced
features for user interaction (FIWARE, n.d.).
SOFIA2 Middleware that allows enabling interoperability of multiple systems and
devices with process and analytics capacities (Minsait, 2016).
Carriots Middleware that connects devices to devices, devices to other systems
and systems to systems. Scale easily with external IT systems with a set
of APIs and web services (Carriots, n.d.).

FMIS A planned system for collecting, processing, storing, and disseminating


data in the form needed to carry out a farm’s operations and functions
(Fountas et al., 2015).
Software libraries
Cloud services Is a model for sharing resources and enabling on-demand access to things
like data storage, software and processing (Kohgadai, n.d.).

Software

42
4.4 Services feature tree
Figure 20 shows the service feature diagram. The features are provided with a description in table 8.
Adequate tools give the famers support to serve the generated data. Therefore five service categories
are established (i) localization services, (ii) HMI, (iii) weather information services, (iv) data analytics
services, and (v) drone surveillances.

First of all, the localization services consists of the GNSS, correction services and steering systems. The
GNSS is the umbrella term for navigation systems that provide autonomous geo-spatial positioning,
and receiving a GNSS signal is one step. The received GNSS signal and location accuracy can be
improved with correction services (Groen Kennisnet, n.d.). In general these correction services send
an additional signal to the GNSS receiver for an improved location accuracy. There is a clear difference
between the additional signal. It is an extra signal send by a certain satellite or from a ground station
(Groen Kennisnet, n.d.).

Secondly the human machine interface (HMI) is in essence the farmer’s graphical information source.
The source can be a dashboard to provide at-a-glance view of relevant KPI’s, an information display to
map or monitor real-time information (Few, 2006). For example van den Borne Aardappelen has
installed an information display at the CANBUS to monitor real-time his GPS location with field
information. And for a more future enabled graphical information source is augmented reality that
uses overlays the natural environment with virtual information (Cupial, 2011).

As third the information services for weather to optimize crop yield by guiding the farmer’s action
based on the weather forecasts. Weather information can be used to guide decisions for multiple
applications. Van den Borne and Woestenk use the weather information for irrigation, applying
fertilizer and pesticides. The weather station can be equipped with devices for additional
measurements. Both Woestenk and van den Borne have a weather station utilized in their fields for
actual weather information. Their weather station consists of an anemometer, wind vane,
thermometer and hygrometer. Furthermore van den Borne has a devices to measure soil temperature
and ultraviolet index.

The data analytics services is the practise of using the data to drive strategy and performance. It varies
from looking backwards to evaluate what happened to the use of predictive models that uses the data
of the past to forecast outcomes (Waller & Fawcett, 2013; De Wit & de Vries, 1985). Different analytic
tool are available serving other purposes like the prediction of potential yield with production model
to mitigating risk with risk measurement tools (Maize Index, 2011).

43
Figure 20: Services feature tree.

44
Table 7: Services feature tree definitions.

Services features Description


Localization service
GNSS Global Navigation Satellite System is the standard generic term for
satellite navigation systems that provide autonomous geo-spatial
positioning with global coverage (Venezia, 2015).
GPS Global Position System is a satellite navigation system used to determine
the ground position of an object developed by the United States (Venezia,
2015).
GLONASS Global Navigation Satellite System is Russia’s version of GPS (Global
Positioning System) (Beebom, 2016).
GALLILEO Galileo is Europe’s GNSS, providing improved positioning and timing
information with significant positive implications for many European
services and users (European GSA, 2018).
Beidou Beidou is the world’s fourth GNSS developed by China (Lei, 2017).
Correction Services Enhancement to the satellite navigation system that improves the
location accuracy (Borne, n.d.; Groen Kennisnet, n.d.).
DGNSS Differential Global Positioning Systems is a service that improves the
location accuracy of the Global Positioning System (GPS). It uses the
differential correction signal from EGNOS (Borne, n.d.; Groen Kennisnet,
n.d.).
HP-GNSS A service that improves the location accuracy of the GPS. It uses the HP
signal differential correction from OmniSTAR (Borne, n.d.).
RTK-GNSS Real Time Kinematic GPS is the service that offers the highest accuracy. It
combined satellite data with a ground station in the same location as the
user (Borne, n.d.; Groen Kennisnet, n.d.)
Base station A fixed location that receives data from the satellite and calculates the
distance from the GNSS enabled vehicle. Correction are as accurate as the
known location of the base station and the quality base station’s satellite
observation (Novatel, 2015).
RTX-GNSS Provides real-time cm-level accuracy without the direct use of a reference
(base) station infrastructure (Leandro, 2011).
Steering Systems Systems to keep farming vehicles on line for minimizing skips, overlaps
and guess rows (Trimble, n.d.).
Manual system Provide a parallel guidance by means of a lightbar or LED display to
correct the direction of travel. The accuracy depends on display and
driver’s skill (Claas, n.d.).
Assisted steering sys. A flexible technology that can be used on different machines. The vehicle
is automatically steered along parallel track by actively intervening the
steering process (Claas, n.d.).
Automatic system An integral component of the vehicle that actively control the vehicle’s
steering hydraulics. The highest level of accuracy (Claas, n.d.).

HMI The Human Machine Interface (HMI) is the interface between the process
and the operators – in essence an operator’s dashboard (Wonderware,
n.d.).
Dashboard Provide at-a-glance views of KPIs relevant for the business process.
Dashboards are often displayed on a web page which is linked to a
database (Few, 2006).
Information Displays Help to accurately monitor and map information in real-time (Few, 2006).

45
Services features Description
Augmented Reality Service Uses the existing natural environment and overlays virtual information
on top of it (Cupial, 2011).
Weather info services Service to help farmers optimize crop yield by guiding their actions using
upcoming weather forecasts to local areas. (Hubbard, Rosenberg &
Nielsen, 1983).
Weather data Historical and actual weather data (Tenzin et al., 2017).
Weather forecast Overview of the weather forecast to make better decisions based on the
forecast (Tenzin et al., 2017).
Weather station A facility with instruments and equipment for measuring atmospheric
condition to provide weather information (Tenzin et al., 2017).
Anemometer A device for measuring wind speed (Ambient Weather, n.d.).
Wind vane A device that measures the direction of the wind (Ambient Weather,
n.d.).
Thermometer A device that measures temperature (Ambient Weather, n.d.).
Hygrometer A device that measures relative humidity (Ambient Weather, n.d.).
Barometer An instrument used to measure atmospheric pressure (Ambient
Weather, n.d.).
Rain gauge A device that measures liquid precipitation (rain) over a set period of time
(Ambient Weather, n.d.).
Solar radiation A device measuring energy from the sun (Ambient Weather, n.d.).
Ultraviolet index A device that measures UV light from the sun (Ambient Weather, n.d.).
Leaf wetness A device that detects the presence of surface moisture and is measured
between 0 (dry) and 15 (saturated) (Ambient Weather, n.d.).
Soil moisture A device that measures the quantity of water contained in a material,
such as soil on a volumetric or gravimetric basis (Ambient Weather, n.d.).
Soil temperature A device that measures the temperature of the soil or other medium
(Ambient Weather, n.d.).
Water temperature A device that measure the temperature of water (Ambient Weather,
n.d.).

Data Analytics Services Is the practice of using data to drive strategy and performance. It ranges
from looking backward to evaluate what happened in the past to looking
forward to scenario-planning and predictive modelling (Waller &
Fawcett, 2013).
Predictive modelling Using data of the past to forecast outcomes (De Wit & de Vries, 1985).
Risk measurement To minimize the changing set of risk sources (Maize Index, 2011).
Weather Rainfall or temperature variability (Maize Index, 2011).
Biological Pests and disease contamination (Maize Index, 2011).
Price Price and market supply and demand volatility (Maize Index, 2011).
Labor and health Illness, death or injury (Maize Index, 2011).
Policy and political Regulatory changed, political upheaval and disruption of markets (Maize
Index, 2011).
Production models The prediction of the potential yields (De Wit & de Vries, 1985).
Time Series Method for analyzing time series data in order to extract meaningful
statistics (Bamwesigye & Kweku Appeagyei).

46
5. Application engineering
This section presents a way to derive feature to create a product within the arable farming domain and
aims to answer the research question: “How can we validate that the feature diagram will enhance the
arable farming domain?”. The structure of this chapter is: paragraph 5.1 introduces the configuration
tool. Paragraph 5.2 demonstrates use-cases of how the model works.

5.1 Configuration tool


Two interviews and facilities visits have been conducted for developing the structure of the
configuration tool. As resulted from the interviews (Appendix A) it became clear that both Woestenenk
and Van den Borne use the cultivation cycle as starting point. Therefore the configuration tool is
structured according this cycle. The cultivation cycle and configuration tool is separated in field
preparation, sowing, crop maintenance and harvesting & storage.

5.1.1 Questions related to the feature diagrams


The questions are documented in appendix C.

5.1.2 Meta-questions
The configuration tool is live with the v1.0 beta period. There are questions to be asked and issues to
be worked out. The answers will have a lasting effect on how the tool operates for the remainder of
time (Cartaino, 2010).

1. Are the questions asked to the farmers on or off target?

The single most important design element in this configuration tool are the questions. They become
the de facto definition of the tool. All the questions are documented in Appendix C and labelled as the
earliest questions. Together with farmers the questions have to be asked continuously, is this the type
of question that helps the farmer further. The questions are eventually key to establish the boundaries
around the configuration tool.

2. What should the configuration tool be?

There is a lot of room for innovation (see next chapter). Discussing the criteria of the tool with relevant
stakeholders is important and picking out potential innovations is a way to introduce new functionality
to the tool. Relevant stakeholders in the current case are the arable farmers. Additionally if farmers
have feedback it should be address and processed in order to show farmers that the tool is for their
own benefit.

3. What to do with the answers?

If a farmer finished the configuration tool the next step is to process the data and present it to the
user.

4. What should the site design look like?

The goal is keep the site as simple as possible where farmers can configure but also an user-face design
that is compliant with farmers and their job.

5. What is the elevator pitch of the configuration tool?

47
Naming and addressing is hard, especially in a community where the majority is reluctant towards
technological innovation. Therefore it recommended to have a sensible pitch for the arable farming
community.

6. How should the configuration tool be promoted?

How to get the message towards the community and how to reach out to farmers and experts in the
arable farming domain. The targeted community has to come from the existing community.

5.2 Woestenenk Aardappelen


A qualitative approach is used to validate the configuration model. Woestenenk tested the first version
of the model.

5.2.1 Woestenenk’s application design


First of all a list of requirements was formulated of what Woestenenk would like to improve on his
farm. The list of requirements is shown in table 9. Secondly, based on the list of requirements he
worked through the configuration model in order to create product tailored to Woestenenk’s needs.

Table 8: List of requirements formulated by Woestenenk.

List of requirements
1 Get more insight in the soil texture
2 Minimize overlap
3 Acquire data from crops
4 A central place to process and interpret data

Woestenenk worked through to the tool to develop a tailored product. The result of the configuration
is shown in table 10.

Stukje over general data. Wat zijn de karateristieken; goed internet ja of nee,. De algemene specificities
geven aan dat er weinig te vrezen valt.

The meet the first requirement a soil scan is selected to analyze the soil texture, its nutrients and water
conductivity. Woestenenk selected the soil scan that makes contact with the soil, therefore it is
possible to drag it behind a vehicle (e.g. a tractor). To minimize overlap the tractor will be enhanced
with a CANBUS system and GNSS task controller that can be connected with the system. In addition
the assisted steering is selected to keep the tractor on the straight and minimize overlap. Assisted
steering is a flexible technology that can be used on different machines. The vehicle is automatically
steering along a parallel track by intervening in the steering process (Claas, n.d.). To acquire data from
crops Woestenenk selected the unmanned aerial vehicle with a multispectral camera to take snapshots
of the field. The UAV is able to take snapshots of the field with an accuracy of 0.5 – 5 meters while
measuring NDVI values from crops. Finally, Woestenenk selected being software to create task maps
based on the soil scan and multispectral camera screenshots. Woestenenk received the email as shown
in figure X.

48
6. Discussion
In this study the objective was to derive feature diagrams for arable farming following the product line
engineering approach to develop a tool for farmers to configure their smart farm. To achieve the goal
farmers were interviewed and facilities visited to get an understanding of the farming cycle. Next to
that literature was reviewed to derive feature diagrams representing the arable farming domain.
Eventually it led to the development of the configuration tool. In testing the feature diagrams and
configuration tool have been validated. Resulting in a tool that can contribute to the exploitation of
technology within the arable domain. In this chapter, paragraph 6.1 discusses the study results.
Paragraph 6.2 presents theoretical and practical contributions and implications for farmers. Finally,
paragraph 6.3 addresses the study’s limitations and suggestions for future research.

6.1 Results and contribution


Together with the farmers we concluded based on the feature diagrams and configuration tool, that
the method provide valuable insight in the exploitation of technology in arable farming. This section
discusses the data, methods, feature diagrams and the obtained tool. A strong focus is given to the
quality of the developed methodology and structure of feature diagrams and configuration tool.

6.1.1 Literature
Although the literature presents two extensively discussed concepts Internet of Things and its
architecture and Product Line Engineering to enable smart farming, literature lacks clear results on
how to project derived feature diagrams to a working tool. This is divided in two parts: Internet of
Things and Product Line Engineering. Internet of Things provides opportunities for greater
communication and new data-driven services. It is possible to interconnect more and smaller devices
into farms (World Economic Forum, 2015). The impact of IoT is acknowledged but there is not yet a
consensus on an architecture for IoT which generally agreed upon. In the literature the three and five
layered architecture (Sethi & Sarangi, 2017) are discussed together with a layered view (Tekinerdogan
et al., 2017) of IoT architecture. The models presented do not provide a complete standardization
especially without concrete implementation samples. It can be hypnotized that the current researched
IoT architecture will suffice for arable smart farming. Despite the fact that there is not yet a perfect
representation of IoT architectures, it is believed that the layered view (Tekinerdogan et al., 2017) is
reasonably indicative for the IoT implementation on farms.

The Product Line Engineering approach emphasises to study the common properties of the products
before analysing individual products (Parnas, 1976). Different methods were found to develop a
Product Line, especially the way to handle variability (Webber and Gomaa, 2004). The downside
however is that these methods do not cope with common features, and focus only on variability
modelling. To address both commonality and variability modelling Apel et al. (2016) discussed a
common approach to express variability in terms of common and optional features. The features
diagrams presented in this research are reflected in the literature.

6.1.2 Interviews and facility visits


Two farmers were interviewed and showed that facility. The sample could be considered as small
(Boeije, 2009) as five is indicated as the minimum by Boeije’s method. However, the goal was to get
an understanding how arable farms operate, how it is managed, conducted activities during the year,
and which equipment is used by the farmer. It provided the base for the domain engineering and
configuration tool. Furthermore, having that as goal the farmers were selected non-randomly. One
farmer Van den Borne being far in the exploitation of technology on his farm and the other farmer

49
Woestenenk barely using technology. Therefore the interview and facility visit of two farmers has been
a big advantage in the approach to eventually built configuration tool.

6.1.3 Domain engineering


Domain engineering was the process of analyzing the arable farming domain of its features. First of all
the scope of the product line’s range was narrowed down to the arable farming. Important to realize
is that farming includes different domains under those circumstances the set of similarities among
products would have been small. As a result one domain is depicted to identify more common features
to establish a robust configuration model (Apel et al., 2016).

Secondly, the features needed to be captured. As discussed the models presented so far do not yet
provide a concrete implementations. The features were captured based on the layered architecture
discussed by Tekinerdogan et al. (2017). The decision on how to divide the features in categories in
compliance with the layered architecture. The hardware represents the physical object being smart
devices from several vendors as sensors, actuators and communication gateways. Communication
gateways are included since it is considered as the edge of the smart devices network allowing data
transmission between the smart devices and network (TongKe, 2013; Gubbi et al., 2013; Lee et al.,
2014).

The network is represented by communication technologies. It became clear that the variety of IoT
applications causes that the used communication technologies are diverse depending on the inherent
characteristics of each solution. To make a distinction the communication technologies are separated
between wired, wireless and cellular. The current approaches in the wireless field are oriented towards
a variety of networks as WPAN, WLAN, LPWAN, cellular network and many more for the purpose to
enable identification among applications. On the negative side the constraints in the feature diagram
is not focusing on compatibility among features. Since the product specific feature modelling is beyond
the scope of the research the compatibility is taken for granted. In some cases the features need to be
from one vendor while others can communicate with most devices. Considering the goal of objective
of this thesis, the neglected product specification is not necessarily influencing the model in a harmful
way. Products could be added in a later stage as it must be remembered that the structure of the
model is of bigger importance (Apel et al., 2016).

The platform feature model is focusing on the data retrieved form the smart devices in the edge of the
network. Here it should be managed, stored and further processed for data interpretation. The focus
on this part is to distinguish public-private products with private vendors. Where the first mentioned
aims to grant interoperability for underlying protocols or standards while using other tools or software
(AIOTI, 2015). While on the other side private vendors some with less interoperability. The focus is on
the separation to prevent the farmer for vendor lock-in and under those circumstances lacking
interoperability. To put it differently the focus is on public-private and private vendors to advice the
farmer with platform that suits his or her (future) requirements.

Finally, a feature model representing services is included. This category focusses merely on external
services that can be embedded within the product set. These services may involve in several layers for
instance machine-to-machine communication by global navigation satellite systems and agricultural
machinery. On the other end analytical tool need to tackle the farmer’s issues by transforming data to
information. Most compelling evidence is that service features inevitably become part of the product
set of a smart farm (AIOTI, 2015; Novatel, 2015; Tenzin et al., 2017).

50
Given these categories of feature modelling the next step was to fill the feature tree with domain
feature. To provide them with fitting features in the first place was to realize a list of potential features.
Each potential feature is reviewed again by research the specific feature and decide if the feature fits
in the feature tree. This method is exercised unsystematically and based on the title and abstract.
However, there is not an existing method available for an objective like this. It is obviously clear that
the structure and ordering of features is not static. The structure and ordering remains arbitrary.
Although this may be true the derived feature trees indicate that it is saturated considering the arable
farming domain. This indication is a result from the fact that articles do not provide new features
because this process is iterated extensively.

6.1.4 Configuration tool


To provide the farmers with a tool to configure their product, a survey is created to guide farmers
through the process. Starting with the software, currently it is created with Google Forms as shown in
appendix C. The software is far from the desired end-result on the other hand in this case a minimum
viable product was the goal. The minimum viable goal needed to address available features to farmers
while guiding them through the configuration process. However, the survey is ambiguous during a few
parts as it lacks functionalities. The only option to include is if-constraints, with the downside of missing
the ability to make the survey dynamic. Currently it created semi-dynamic in an artificial way with if-
constraint. For this reason the route have a fixed set of possible alternatives.

Next to that the farmer is not provided with a ‘current selection’ or ‘basket’. Thus assuming that
farmers remembered what they have selected and what not.

The configuration tool is structured according the cultivation cycle as discussed in appendix B. The
questions and answers formulated are derived from the feature trees. The cultivation cycle is leading
in the tool where different parts of the feature trees enables questions and answers. To put it
differently consider the start and end of the cultivation cycle, preparation and harvesting respectively.
First the tool process the preparation part with features from the hardware, network and service tree.
Later, during harvest the tool process features from hardware, network and service tree. As a matter
of fact it is possible to switch roles by making the feature trees leading and followed by question arising
from the cultivation cycle. However, the interviews indicated that farmers reason from the cultivation
cycle consequently making the cultivation cycle leading in the configuration tool.

6.1.5 Application engineering


Together with the configuration tool it is possible to derive products from the arable farming domain,
making it an explicit application tool. Woestenenk tested the tool and received output as shown in
chapter 5. Most compelling evidence is that the tool makes the exploitation of technology easier for
farmer to understand. Another key point is that it creates a set of features potentially solving actual
problems. However, the validation by Woestenenk should be considered as a start point for future
improvements.

6.2 Implications for farmers


Research indicates that feature modelling and a corresponding configuration tool affects the
exploitation of technology in arable farming positively. In fact, it provides an action research design
that follow the characteristics of arable farming by interviews, facility visits and related articles to
initially adopt an explanatory stance embodied by feature trees. Followed by the intervention as being
the configuration tool in order to create applications from the feature trees.

51
First of all, the implementation of a systematic approach by focusing on reuse of common features
while handling variability explicitly works for arable farming. Starting with analyzing the domain at
stake high level continuing to iterate the process to foster deeper understanding of the arable farming
domain. As a result by conceptualizing the features following the Product Line Engineering approach
it creates a starting point for the configuration tool. Next to that, seen from the domain engineering
perspective farmers are able to review available features within their domain.

Secondly, the configuration tool enables application engineering in oriented from the farmer’s
cultivation cycle where farmers are willing to experiment with technology. The tool can be a critical
factor the adoption acceleration of technology. It enables farmers to orientate briefly about available
technologies and corresponding features. Creating hands-on for farmers to tackle their problems and
/ or improving their existing cultivation cycle. By focusing on their product portfolio and efficiency
farmers are able to, i.e. shift to a more cost-effective business model.

It seems, although not thoroughly validated, that application engineering with the configuration tool
are beneficial for the farmers for two reasons. First by increasing their knowledge of the available
technologies. And second by guiding them through the process by addressing potential problems and
which features are able to solve them.

In conclusion, it can be supposed that farmers can exploit technology on their farm following the
Product Line Engineering Approach. Therefore, the arable farming domain is conceptualized in
features and a configuration tool is deployed to guide the application engineering. This tool creates a
product based on a set of features that satisfies the farmers requirements. If farmers struggle to
enhance their farm with technology this research could give them start in the right direction.

6.3 Limitations and further research


This research increases the exploitation of technologies on arable farms to increase their productivity
while lowering their costs, but should, however, be evaluated in the light of the limitations of the study.
First, the ongoing implementation of IoT should be evaluated in order to work with the right
architecture. So these findings primarily refer to the selected architecture.

Secondly, the choice of structure and ordering of features was dictated by the iterative process and
cultivation cycle. Being the first research to systematically captured features in arable farming does
not imply that the choice is the right one. The limitation is that it is should be validated with more
farmers to provide a robust and tested structure with features at the right place.

Thirdly, future research can involve the addition of an extra feature tree layer. By adding an extra layer
it is possible to select explicit products from a feature. More importantly, with the extra layer it is
possible to examine compatibility making the configuration model more a service on its own. As noted,
this study solely focused on a minimum viable products to prove its added value in order to exploit
technology following the product line engineering approach.

Finally, the fact that the software should be reviewed because currently it is semi-dynamic without
displaying the current selection. To make it user-friendlier for farmers other software could be a better
fit. Besides, future studies can validate the findings by focusing on different agricultural domains.

52
7. Conclusion
The final chapter presents the main conclusions of this research. In the agriculture farmers are or will
be challenged with the digital era, built largely on technologies that comprise the Internet of Things
promises to make the farm of the future more productive and efficient. In general the current
approach consists of an uniform crop and soil management, while the literature indicates that a site-
specific crop and soil management can be the right measurement to increase the yield with less input.
However, to make the transition from present to future approach involves improved sampling and
sensing as shown in figure 22. This can be accomplished by exploiting technology to the farms.
However, the prevalence of helping farmers exploiting technology is very low.

Figure 22: Present and future farming approaches.

Figure 21:The eyed transition in arable farming.

As result the research objective of this action research design was to derive feature diagrams for arable
farming following the product line engineering approach to develop a tool for farmers to configure
their smart farm. To reach the objective three research questions were proposed.

1. How can a system based on product line engineering enhance the system configuration for
individual farmers in the arable farming domain?

2. What are the features in the arable farming domain?

3. How can we validate that the feature diagram will enhance the arable farming domain?

This first research question was focused on literature to get an understanding of concepts related to
smart farming and product line engineering. Smart farming is tangled with the concept of Internet of
Things (Sundmaeker et al., 2016; Wolfter et al., 2017). Literature indicates that Internet of Things will
provide the anticipate impact on arable farming and creating a new paradigm of farming. This includes
the introduction of new features in order to create a smart farm (the product). Because products
(smart farms) differ with respect to the requirements of the farmer, but can share a certain set of
common features among other products. Product Line Engineering captures and documents the
features, expressed in commonalities and variabilities, of the scoped domain. Altogether these
features represents the possible set of products that may be derived. However, with application
engineering farmers can express their requirements for the product and receive a set of features that
represents their product, in this case, the configuration of the smart farming (Pohl et al., 2005; Apel et

53
al., 2016). Therefore, instead of developing smart farms from scratch, they can be constructed from
common features and explicit variability handling (Apel et al., 2016). Next to that it should be tailored
to the requirements of the farmers, where farmers can select from a large space of configuration
options. The PLE approach provides a form of mass customization by creating individual solutions
based on a portfolio consisting of features.

For the second research question domain engineering allowed a systematic approach to derive the
features of the arable farming domain. As a result four feature trees were created with feature
modelling representing the arable farming. These feature trees However, the results obtained cannot
easily be compared because up to the present time this is the first research conducted in the
agricultural sector focusing on product line engineering.

Therefore the third research question validated the feature diagram by building a configuration tool.
Consequently farmers are able to configure their smart farm while at the same time the tool is being
tested for structure and logic.

In conclusion, product line engineering approach appears well suited for the identification of features
in arable farming through literature. It is possible that a tool guides farmers along the process so the
technology catches up. Together with farmers a configuration tool is created to guide the process of
application engineering in which each product met and will meet the farmer’s requirements. Validation
has to continue to assess whether the structure meet the farmer’s demand and how this bridge will
be bootstrapped into the agricultural sector.

To summarize, the configuration tool based on product line engineering is an excellent starting point
in order to exploit technology in arable farming where farmers are enabled to create their own smart
farm. With that said I would like to invite you to visit: www.mijnslimmeboerderij.tk (translated it means
mysmartfarm.tk).

54
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Appendices

Appendix A
The results from the interviews are presented in this section. First Van den Borne Aardappelen is shown
followed by a report on Woestenenk Aardappelen. Written in Dutch.

Van den Borne – Interview

Wat is de geschiedenis van uw boerderij?

“Onze boerderij is opgericht in 1952 door mijn opa en teelde vooral granen en erwten. Mijn vader nam
het over eind jaren 70 en richtte zich in de jaren 80 voornamelijk op de teelt van aardappelen. Door
de jaren heen werd de aardappel teelt een steeds groter deel van het totale veldoppervlakte. Machines
werden gekocht en doorverkocht om de mechanisatie verder door te zetten. In 2006 hebben mijn
broer en ik het overgenomen en hebben het verder doorontwikkeld. In deze 65 jaar zijn van 20 hectare
naar ruim 500 hectare gegroeid”.

Hoe ziet een cyclus eruit?

Zie Appendix B, daar staat de gehele cyclus uitgelegd.

Hoe is uw voorraadbeheer?

“De pesticiden mengen we zelf, hierdoor hebben het altijd in eigen hand en kunnen we resistentie
beter tegengaan. Het pootgoed wordt aangeleverd het enige waar we goed op moeten zitten is ons
mest. Daar hebben we leuke connecties mee dus dat loopt vrij soepel en is flexibel”.

Wat voor technologie gebruikt u?

“Eind jaren 90 schafte mijn vader de eerste zelfrijdende machines aan te schaffen. Dat waren een
rooier en veldspuit en sindsdien is het stapsgewijs meer geworden. Er volgende een sorteerinstallatie
en we hebben onze machines in 1 keer vervangen naar brand in onze loods. Verschrikkelijk moment
maar uiteindelijk een mooie start geweest om de nieuwe machines uit te rusten met technologie. Pas
in 2008 maakte we de echte start naar precisielandbouw toen werd onze eerste tractor uitgerust met
een automatisch stuursysteem. Vervolgens volgde er sensoren om het bladgroen te meter zodat we
variabel konden spuiten. En zo is het gegroeid tot het nu is”.

Hoe is dat zo ontstaan?

“Mijn vader begon al vroeg het experimenteren van mechanisatie, hij deed het maaien met een tractor
en zelfbinder. Dat was voor toen aardig vooruitstrevend. Daarna na 2008 ging het vrij snel, er volgde
meer samenwerkingsverbanden onder ander om zoveel mogelijk data te verzamelen en dat te
gebruiken om de ideale cyclus te draaien. Ook mochten we steeds meer sensoren en apparatuur testen
om te achterhalen welke het beste rendeert, dat helpt ook met het omarmen van precisielandbouw,
helemaal omdat je resultaat ziet”.

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Bent u nog een traditionele boer?

“Langzaam word ik meer een boer die keuzes maakt op basis van data. We doen veel experimenteren
op ons testperceel maar de geleerde lessen passen we toe op de andere percelen. En alle geleerde
lessen zijn gebaseerd op data”.

Waar staan gaan we de komende 5 jaar naartoe?

“Onze boerderij zal meer en meer techniek toepassen om keuzes nog meer te onderbouwen aan de
hand van data. Andere boeren zullen langzaam ook kijken naar technologische oplossingen, het zal
ontzettend langzaam gaan maar de jongere boeren die openstaan voor innovatie zullen
experimenteren. Ik krijg steeds meer aanvragen voor bedrijfsbezoeken”.

Hoe reageren de mensen over het algemeen?

“Ik merk dat mensen enthousiast en vaak ook geïnspireerd naar huis gaan, dus wellicht dat dat ook
bijdraagt”.

Zijn er overige aspecten waar ik rekening mee moet houden?

“Blijf met zoveel mogelijk mensen hierover praten om informatie te krijgen. Het is een oude sector dus
innovatie op gang krijgen is niet makkelijk, probeer de jonge boeren te pakken die niet bang zijn voor
innovatie”.

Woestenenk - Interview

Wat is de geschiedenis van uw boerderij?

“Wij zijn een familiebedrijf wat zich richt op akkerbouw en vleesvarkens. Waarvan de akkerbouw de
belangrijkste tak is. Binnen de akkerbouw telen we suikerbieten, mais, granen en aardappelen.
Waarvan aardappelen het grootste is. De varkens zijn er later bijgekomen en gebruiken we voor extra
inkomsten en de mest zetten we in op de velden. Daarnaast doen we aan verkoop aan huis Hier
verkopen we aardappelen, eieren, seizoensproducten, honing, Loarnse patat en schijfjes”.

Hoe ziet een cyclus eruit?

Zie appendix B, daar staat de gehele cyclus uitgelegd.

Hoe is uw voorraadbeheer?

“Wij kijken wat we vandaag of morgen nodig hebben en zoeken het in onze opslag. Als het er niet is
bestellen we het en is het de volgende dag binnen. Meestal weet je wel wat er staat maar soms levert
het ook vervelende situaties op waardoor je je werkzaamheden moeten wisselen of uitstellen”.

Waar staan gaan we de komende 5 jaar naartoe?

“Ik denk wel dat er steeds meer technieken zullen worden toegepast binnen landbouw en uiteindelijk
ook bij ons. De activiteiten van het boeren zullen naar mijn idee niet veranderen omdat ze afhankelijk
zijn van het weer en de seizoenen. Ik ben nog wel sceptisch of techniek daar (afhankelijke variabelen)
rekening mee houdt”.

63
Wat voor technologie gebruikt u?

“Wij hebben een weerstation en sensoren in de schuur om de oogst te monitoren en beheren. Dat is
eigenlijk het enige. En om eerlijk te zijn maken we nog meer gebruik van de ouderwetse barometer in
plaats van ons weerstation.

Waarom dat?

“Je ziet daar een heuvel in de verte die zorgt ervoor dat de voorspelde regen achter de heuvel blijft of
juist dat er ineens 20mm in 1 uur valt. Daar houdt het weerstation geen rekening mee en kunnen we
beter inschatten met de barometer en onze eigen observaties”.

Zou je openstaan voor technologie op je boerderij?

“Ja in zekere mate wel, maar het grote probleem is dat ik geen idee heb waar je zou beginnen. En wat
wel en wat niet werkt dus houden we het bij het oude”.

Zijn er overige aspecten waar ik rekening mee moet houden?

“Ik zou je tool graag willen testen als die klaar is of als ik met iets kan helpen moet je het laten weten.”

64
Appendix B
The reports on the farm visits is presented in this appendix section. First the report on Van den Borne
Aardappelen is shown followed by a report on Woestenenk Aardappelen.

Van den Borne Aardappelen


Van den Borne Aardappelen is a family business within arable farming founded in 1952 and located in
Reusel. Since 2006 the farm is led by Jacob and Jan van den Borne, and together with two full-time
employees they run the company. Figure 23 shows the farm from an aerial perspective. Their main
product is potatoes and in 65 years van den Borne has grown from 20 hectares towards more than 500
hectares. Van den Borne describes themselves as a ‘data-farmer’ and try gather as much information
from their fields and operations with precision farming. Precision agriculture according van den Borne
means that the farmer take measures at the right time and at the right place to increase the potato’s
potential yield. This should result in saves regarding fuel, fertilizer, pesticides and labor.

Figure 23: Van den Borne Aardappelen shown from an aerial perspective.

Fields
Van den Borne have 500 hectares available for cultivation which are divided over 140 different plots.
The fields which are cultivated have a ‘zandvruchtwisseling’, these are generally soils that only grow
potatoes, rye, barley, sugar and fodder beet. This kind of soil has two problems: (1) the soil is restricted
with water pollution, and (2) the soil is restricted on desiccation.

In 2010 van den Borne started to execute soil scans in order to retrieve knowledge about their soil. In
the upcoming years different soil scans where used, in 2011 the scanner had the possibility to scan
multiple depths (0 – 0.5m, 0 – 1m, 0 – 1.5m and 0 – 3.0). Test were conducted with several soil scanners
to test the capabilities, to find the soil scanner that generates the most valuable information. In recent
years, there have been many problems within the soil, and as most of the time is soil densification the
biggest problem. It should be interesting to measure any other additional parameters in the soil,
therefore a soil sampling device was purchased. Van den Borne wants to gather the characteristics and
parameters from their fields.

65
Cultivation cycle
The first stage at van den Borne contain lots of maintenance on the plots in December and January.
They breed in a wooded area so the edges of the parcels need to be pruned on a regular basis against
damage to the machines and a better light invasion on the fields. The drainage is improved by cleaning
and more important activities for soil improvement is also performed such as levelling and removing
unwanted layers with a deep-root cultivator. The first process that takes place on the entire field is
applying fertilizer. Before the plots are ploughed they are fertilized with liquid manure where it serves
as a supplier of nutrients for the potato crops. In March till the month May the fields are being
prepared with ploughing or spading. The manner differentiates by crops that will be sown and type of
soil.

The second place involves sowing tubers in the months April and May. The planting density
differentiates at van den Borne with (1) spray paths, (2) shadow zones and (3) soil guidance as shown
in figure 20. (1) the crops located next to the spray path assimilate more light, nutrients and water.
The two rows of crops that are located within a spray path are sown 10% more closely to each other.
(2) Crops located in shadow zones consists of lower yield, by widening the crop distance more light,
nutrients and water are available per crops. (3) Zones with a high soil guidance provide higher yield
because there is a higher soil moisture, therefore the crops are sown closer together.

Figure 24: On the left the shadow zones and on the right the planting density.

Pesticides are applied after the crops have been sown to keep them healthy and disease free. The
potatoes are protected against Phytophthora. Van den Borne only applies pesticides when the change
of disease is high, the change is derived from weather information (weather stations at the plots and
KNMI records), crop information (remote and close sensing) and spraying information.

In addition the crops are being monitored by mounted sensors on a spraying machine. These sensors
measure the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI)4 which include the leaf area index, biomass
and plant productivity and the red edge position (REP) as an indicator of plant chlorophyll
concentration. Chlorophyll concentration is usually an indicator of nutritional stress and the
photosynthetic capacity, which is correlated nitrogen deficiency (Filella & Penuelas, 1993). The
spraying machine is able to apply a variable amount of nutrition to the crop, almost immediately after
measurement.

4
NDVI explained in http://gisgeography.com/ndvi-normalized-difference-vegetation-index/.

66
The fourth stage starts at the end of August with harvesting potatoes which are not yet full grown.
From mid-September the consumption potatoes are harvested, cleaned from haulm, sand and rocks.
And finally the potatoes are stored in large barn with equipment to remain the potatoes dry and well-
preserved.

Delivery
From 1 October onwards potatoes are being delivered to Farm Frites, a potato processor. The potatoes
are being cleaned and transported by conveyor belts to the sorting machines. The potatoes are sorted
into four sizes, the size needed for the factory can be washed and dried. The dried potatoes are
automatically loaded onto truck trailers and brought to their destination.

Machinery
Van den Borne uses different machinery and equipment’s during the season, the self-steering enabled
vehicles are shown in figure 24.

Figure 25: Van den Borne's self-driving vehicles.

67
Woestenenk Aardappelen
Woestenk Aardappelen is a family business within the arable farming and meat pigs located in Laren,
province Gelderland. The meat pigs branch is relatively small, in total there are 160 meat pigs allocated.
The biggest branch of their company is the arable farming industry. Woestenk describes themselves
as a traditional farmer with little change in their approach in cultivation, and a minimal involvement of
electronic components. Figure 25 shows the farm from an aerial perspective.

Figure 26: Woestenenk Aardappelen shown from an aerial perspective.


Figure3.4:
Animals
The 160 meat pigs are fed and checked twice a day, where the vet checks the animals once a month.
The piglets arrive with a weight of 25 kilograms. Depending on their weight, the pigs are delivered to
Vion Food5 between three and four months. The final weight is around 110 kilos. In addition to the pigs
there are several small animals around the house like sheep, goats, rabbits and chicken. The latter
make sure there are fresh eggs available.

Fields
They have 150 hectares available for cultivation which are divided among multiple plots. Woestenk has
acres under their own ownership and hire additional plots from other landowners in the region. Hired
plots have unknown field characteristics, for example unwanted PH spots that affects the optimal
growth. Woestenk considers the unknown characteristics from a hired field as taken for granted.

The cultivated crops are sugar beet, corn, grains and potatoes. The arable crops are cultivated
responsibly with an annual crops rotation, to maintain good yield results and to keep the soil healthy.
Where necessary soil improvers are applied or an green manure. The green manure is created by
leaving uprooted or sown crop parts to wither on a field to serve as a mulch and soil amendment.
Likewise, by taking a sample every four years they try to enhance their insight into what is needed to
grow an optimal crop.

The total acres division is shown in table 11. The potatoes occupy more than 50% of the available
hectares with 86 HA, with 66 HA for regular consumption potatoes, 20 HA starch potatoes and 1.5 HA
potatoes for sales at home. Additionally there are sugar beet (13 HA), cereals (10HA), corn (10HA) and
other (31HA). Other can be interpreted as storage locations and stables.

5Vion Food is an international meat producer with production locations and the Netherlands and Germany. The product
portfolio of Vion Food includes fresh pork and fresh beef, and derived products for retail, foodservice and the processed
meat industries.

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Table 9: Division of crops Woestenenk Aardappelen.

Crop type Hectare


Potatoes 86
Sugar beet 13
Cereals 10
Corn 10
Other 31
Total 150

Cultivation cycle
The first stage in tuber cultivation is ploughing, this involves turning the soil over to aerate it, removing
residue from former crops and digging furrows. The soil needs to be harrowed until completely free of
formers crops and weed roots. Three ploughings along with frequent harrowing and rolling, are needed
before the soil reaches an appropriate condition. Additionally, fertilizer is applied to the newly
ploughed soil in order to maintain the fertility of the soil. The fertilizer is derived from the meat pigs,
their excrement is stored in a silo.

The second stage involves placing tubers (5th of April – 15th of May) in the furrows and covering them
with earth to create a long ridge. The potato crop is usually grown not from seed but from small tubers
or pieces of tubers sown to a depth of 5 to 10 centimeter. Solid fertilizer is applied to provide nitrogen
and potassium, this improves the leaf development and cell strength respectively.

The planting density of a row of potatoes depends on the size of the tubers chosen, Woestenk sown
each tuber 34 – 36 centimeter from each other in a ridge, with 75 centimeter between the ridges.

The third stage is applying the multiple pesticides to protect the crops. The first pesticides are applied
on the ridges to control the weeds in order to give the crop an advantage. Secondly, when the crop
has a length of 20 centimeters apply pesticides to prevent Phytophthora (a genus of plant-damaging
water molds). It is applied weekly and alternate with three pesticides (X, Y and XY) to prevent
resistance. Woestenk states that not every farmers sprays against Phytophthora, they do it based on
gut-feeling. Thirdly, around the longest day (21st of June) spray against lice and beetles. Woestenk
states there is a discussion going whether or not to spray against the aforementioned since it destroys
the good insects likewise. Finally in the months July and August Woestenk sprays against Alternaria6
and applies extra fertilizer for extra nitrogen wherefore the crops create more leaf, which stimulates
the growth of larger potatoes. excavation

The fourth stage starts around mid-October with haulm topping to remove the leaves and stem above
the ridge. Therefore Woestenk tries to reduce the amount of haulm between the potatoes. In October
or November the potatoes are dug up with a potato harvester and brought to storage.

The final stage is storage, where Woestenk makes use of two storage options. One part of the harvest
is stored outside and sold in December before deterioration caused by the weather. The second part

6At least 20% of agricultural spoilage is caused by Alternaria species, the most severe losses may reach up to 80% of yield
(Nowicki et al., 2012).

69
is stored inside a dark, well-ventilated environment, kept at a maximum temperature of 8°C . The
temperate at the first day of storage is around 14°C or 15°C and is lowered daily by 0.2°C. This is
monitored closely by Woestenk to prevent post-harvest losses. The potatoes in the barn are sold in
February or March.

Delivery
The yield is partly sold to Aviko, a potato processor, based on a contract that is concluded at the start
of each season. The price and amount of potatoes is determined by Aviko based on previous years.
Another part of the potatoes is sold next year for a price that is determined by the average of previous
months. When the potatoes are delivered later the compensation per potato is higher, because the
farmers are exposed to post-harvest losses and the potatoes shrink during the storage. The actual
amount of kg’s is therefore less.

Machines
Woestenk uses different machinery and equipment’s during the season as shown in figure 22.

Figure 27: Woestenenk's equipment presented in front of the barn.

70
Appendix C
The configuration tool questions are presented (in Dutch) in this appendix section.

Configureren van een slimme boerderij

Met de huidige techniek is het mogelijk om meer uit je boerderij te halen. Sensoren genereren data
vanuit de velden en machines om betere en nauwkeurigere beslissingen te maken. Actuatoren kunnen
sproeiers automatisch aansturen voor een optimale toediening. Daarnaast zijn er tal van services (als
navigatiesystemen en weerstations) beschikbaar en dient ook alles met elkaar te communiceren.

Dat zijn behoorlijk wat vraagstukken om te beantwoorden naast het reguliere werk. In deze vragenlijst
wordt u meegenomen door alle mogelijke technieken om meer uit uw boerderij te halen. Alles is
voorzien van een uitleg om een weloverwogen keuze te maken. De vragenlijst is als volgt
gestructureerd: algemene vragen, technologie voor de tractor, veld voorbereiding, zaaien, onderhoud
van gewassen, oogsten, opslag en geavanceerd.

Note: Dit is de eerste versie dat zich richt op klantvalidatie van het product, de gekozen
functionaliteiten en opzet. In de toekomst wordt de gekozen software gevalideerd en kunnen prijzen
en producten worden toegevoegd voor een betere configuratie.

Algemene vragen - Voordat we starten een paar algemene vragen om de configuratie zo optimaal
mogelijk te maken.

1. Wat is uw e-mailadres?

2. Zit u in de open teelt?

Ja – Nee

3. Heeft u beschikking tot (stabiel) internet?

Ja - Nee

4. Waar voor internet heeft u?

Kabel

Draadloos

Kabel en draadloos

Anders

5. Geef uw internetverbinding een cijfer

12345

6. Hoe is uw mobiele ontvangst?

Niet tot nauwelijks

Stabiele 2G

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Stabiele 3G

Stabiele 4G

7. Wat voor apparatuur heeft u?

Computer

Laptop

Tablet

Smartphone

Anders

8. Hoe ver liggen de percelen van de boerderij?

Binnen 100m

Tussen 100m en 500m

Buiten 500m

9. Hoeveel hectare heeft u tot uw beschikking?

0 – 50ha

50 – 125ha

125 – 250ha

250+ha

10. Maakt uw gebruik van een farm management information system (FMIS)?

Ja - Nee

Basis vragenlijst

Voor een verkorte route selecteer hier de gewenste categorie. Zonder een optie selecteren begint u
bij tractor voorzien van slimme technologie.

11. Een korte route naar

Tractor voorzien van slimme technologie

Perceelbewerking Skip to question 20.

Zaaien Skip to "Zaaien ."

72
Onderhoud van gewassen Skip to question 29.

Oogsten en opslag Skip to "Oogsten."

Databeheer Skip to question 59.

Geavanceerd Skip to question 66.

Einde van de vragenlijst Skip to question 69.

Tractor slimmer maken

Met behulp van een CANBUS is het mogelijk om realtime te communiceren. Ieder onderdeel
aangesloten op het CAN netwerk kan boodschappen naar elkaar verzenden. Het basisprincipe is
uitgelegd in onderstaand plaatje.

A: Passive terminator

B: Tractorgegevens zoals motor of transmissie

C: GNSS ontvanger (navigatiesysteem)

D: Display voor alle informatie

E: ISOBUS plug-in

F: Sensoren

G: Active terminator

12. Een CANBUS systeem is een van de eerste systemen om te implementeren wanneer u wilt
verstappen naar een datagedreven boerderij. Hiermee maakt u het bv mogelijk om GNSS te gebruiken
icm met sensoren voor realtime bewerking. Wilt u hier gebruik van maken?

Ja

Nee Skip to "Bij het selecteren van een CANBUS past een navigatiesysteem. ."

Heb ik al

13. Met behulp van CANBUS kunnen alle onderdelen worden gepresenteerd op 1 display in plaats van
ieder een eigen display. Wilt u alles op één scherm zichtbaar hebben?

Ja – Nee – Heb ik al

14. Navigatiesystemen

Het vaststellen van een plaats in het veld is voor precisielandbouw een vereiste omdat (1) het verhoogt
de opbrengst door een verbeterde veld specifieke toediening. (2) zorgt voor een verminderd verbruik
aan middelen. En (3) de benodigde vaardigheden van een boer worden verlicht dankzij de

73
terugkoppeling van het systeem. Er zijn verschillende soorten navigatie systemen (Amerikaanse,
Russische, Europese en Chinese).

De enige die op dit moment live zijn de eerste twee, waar Galileo spoedig volgt. Hier is een keuze niet
nodig, dat wordt automatisch geregeld door het systeem, het is slechts ter illustratie. Wilt u gebruik
maken van een navigatiesysteem?

Ja - Nee Skip to question 19. - Heb ik al

15. Correctie service

Een navigatiesysteem ontvangt gegevens van minimaal 4 satellieten, de nauwkeurigheid van de positie
is door allerlei verstorende factoren in de orde van meters. DGNSS maakt gebruikt van 23 verschillende
stations op grotere afstand om de afwijking te beperken tot 20 á 30 cm. Goed te gebruiken voor recht
te rijden met spuiten en kunstmest strooien. HP-GNSS maakt gebruikt 100 verschillende stations om
de afwijking te beperking rond 10 cm - 50 cm. RTK-GNSS correctiesignaal vereist een extern station
binnen een straal van 10km. Afwijking < 3 cm. Interessant als er een extern station in de buurt staat,
anders vereist het een additionele investering. RTX- GNSS levert een nauwkeurigheid van < 4 cm.
Voordeel is dat er geen gebruik wordt gemaakt van een vast station. Stel de vraag aan uzelf; hoe
nauwkeurig moet het systeem zijn? Een rechthoekig veld kan een grotere afwijking toelaten dan een
veld met veel hoeken.

Geen correctie service

DGNSS correctiesignaal

HP-DGNSS correctiesignaal

RTK-GNSS correctiesignaal

RTX-GNSS correctiesignaal

16. Stuurhulp

Handmatig rijden zonder hulp van een stuursysteem. Een assisterend systeem neemt de leiding zodat
je hands-free kan rijden zorgt voor een hoge nauwkeurigheid voor een medium prijs. Automatische
stuurhulp zorgt voor de hoogste nauwkeurigheid wordt geïnstalleerd in het hydraulisch systeem van
het systeem. Wil je gebruik maken van stuurhulp?

Handmatig sturen

Assisterende stuurhulp

Automatische stuurhulp

74
17. Display voor stuurhulp

Wanneer u geeft virtueel display heeft kunt u ervoor kiezen om uw stuurrichting te visualiseren voor
een betere ondersteuning. Wilt u een display voor stuurhulp?

Ja – Nee - Al geselecteerd met een virtueel display

18. Dit was het eerste deel naar welk categorie wilt u?

Veldvoorbereiding Skip to question 20.

Terug naar overzicht Skip to question 11.

19. Basis vragenlijst - Een korte route naar

Tractor voorzien van slimme technologie Skip to question 12.

Perceelbewerking Skip to question 20.

Zaaien Skip to "Zaaien ."

Onderhoud van gewassen Skip to question 29.

Oogsten en opslag Skip to "Oogsten."

Databeheer Skip to question 59.

Geavanceerd Skip to question 66.

Einde van de vragenlijst Skip to question 69.

20. Bodemscan

Om inzicht te krijgen in de samenstelling van de bodem zoals nutriënten, organische stofgehalte,


structuur, textuur en / of vochtigheid kan een bodemscan worden uitgevoerd. Te gebruiken voor
teeltmaatregelen zoals variabel kunstmest strooien en irrigatie op basis van bodemgeleidbaarheid.
Daarnaast is het een ideale manier om representatieve plekken te selecteren voor sensoren. Kortom:
handig als er veel verschil in de velden zit om de verschillen in kaart te brengen.

Ja daar wil ik gebruik van maken

Nee, niet nodig Skip to question 23.

75
21. Bodemkennis

Wilt u meer weten over de pH waarde van de bodem en nutriënten levels? (Optie 1)

Of

Wilt u meer weten over uw bodemsamenstelling, en droge en natte plekken? (Optie 2)

Optie 1 - Optie 2 – Allebei - Geen van beide

22. De bodemscan direct contact laten maken met de bodem of niet? Met direct contact wordt de
bodemscan achter het voertuig aangesleept terwijl geen direct contact de scan bv. op het dak van het
voertuig is gemonteerd.

Direct contact - Geen direct contact

23. Inscannen van percelen

De percelen worden ingescand met behulp van GNSS (navigatiesystemen) en wordt ingezet voor
meerdere doeleinden. Ten eerste voor gewasbeschermingen zodat er niet buiten de perceelsgrenzen
gespoten wordt. Ten tweede voor het bepalen van rijpaden. En tot slot voor remote sensing. Interesse
om uw percelen in te scannen?

Ja en heb al GNSS (geselecteerd)

Ja en wil gebruik maken van GNSS Skip to question 26.

Nee

Grond gelijkmatig maken

Moeite om uw land gelijk te krijgen en het water level beheren? Er zijn verschillende opties om hiermee
aan de slag te gaan. Voordelen hiervan zijn: beter water management, efficiënter qua tijd en drukt
kosten.

24. Laser controle systeem

Hiermee is het mogelijk om met behulp van een laser gestuurd assistentie systeem om uw land gelijk
te krijgen. Huren is ook een optie.

Ja - Nee

76
25. Bodembewerking

Weerstand van de bodem meten door middel van mechanische sensor. Hiermee kan de
bodemverdichting in kaart worden gebracht, sterk in combinatie met een GNSS (navigatiesysteem).
Dit brengt u aan op bv uw ploeg. Wilt u gebruik maken van een mechanische sensor?

Ja icm GNSS (al geselecteerd) Skip to question 27.

Ja icm GNSS (nog niet geselecteerd) Skip to question 26.

Ja zonder GNSS

Nee

26. GNSS (navigatiesysteem) - Weet u zeker dat uw niet wilt werken met een navigatiesysteem,
hiermee worden kaarten ontwikkelt voor een grafische weergave en wordt precisielandbouw
gerealiseerd?

Ja Skip to question 12. - Nee

27. Een korte route naar

Tractor voorzien van slimme technologie Skip to question 12.

Perceelbewerking Skip to question 20.

Zaaien Skip to "Zaaien ."

Onderhoud van gewassen Skip to question 29.

Oogsten en opslag Skip to "Oogsten."

Databeheer Skip to question 59.

Geavanceerd Skip to question 66.

Einde van de vragenlijst Skip to question 69.

28. Zaaien - Tijdens het zaaien kunt u tegen verschillende factoren aanlopen die uiteindelijk uw
productiviteit verlagen. Dit kunnen mechanische blokkades zijn van het pootgoed. Het doel is om rijen
te hebben waarbij het pootgoed consistent geplaatst is. Met sensoren op uw zaaier kunt u rijen
monitoren op consistente plaatsing.

Ja - Nee

29. Gewasonderhoud - Dit onderdeel is onderverdeeld in: Remote sensing en gewasbehandeling.


Snelle route naar:

Remote sensing - Gewasbehandeling Skip to question 43.

77
30. Kennis over uw gewassen

Hiermee is het mogelijk om te kijken naar verschillende vegetatie indexen zoals de REP (geeft de
hoeveelheid chlorofyl en stikstof aan), SAVI (de verbeterde versie van NDVI geeft het de levende
vegetatie weer), NDWI (om het water level te bekijken in een gewas). Op basis van deze informatie
kunnen taakkaarten gemaakt worden voor het toedienen van mest en/of kunstmest voor optimale
groei van het gewas. Om hier gebruik van te maken heeft u optische sensoren nodig. Wilt u gebruik
maken van optische sensoren?

Ja - Nee

Remote sensing - Wat doet het?

Met remote sensing is het mogelijk om vegetatie te monitoren hiervoor zijn verschillende manieren.
Vanuit de ruimte: levert een resolutie van (2m tot 10m+) is onvoldoende om de aanwezigheid van
individuele planten te detecteren. Heeft het voordeel in vaste intervallen over te komen. Handig als
gaat om veel km². Vanuit de lucht is er voldoende resolutie (0.5 - 5m) om kleinschalige variatie in
vegetatie te registreren. Laagvliegers zijn nauwkeuriger maar hebben een beperkte vliegtijd ivm de
accu. Vanaf de grond betekent met sensoren op de machines naar de plant kijken. Dit geeft de hoogste
nauwkeurigheid per plant maar is ook het meest arbeidsintensief. Een efficiënte optie als het op een
spuitmachine gemonteerd kan worden. We lopen beide categorieën door, beginnend met lucht. Het
wordt aangeraden om 1 van de opties te kiezen. Wanneer remote sensing en GNSS gecombineerd
worden kan er variabel gespoten worden. Heeft u interesse in remote sensing vanuit de lucht?

Ja - Nee After the last question in this section, skip to question 37.

32. Remote sensing vanuit de lucht

Vanuit de ruimte (satelietten) Skip to question 33.

Hoog uit de lucht (vliegentuigen) Skip to question 34.

Laag uit de lucht (UAV) Skip to question 35.

33. Wilt u gebruik van maken van satelliet service?

Ja – Nee - Terug naar de opties Skip to question 31.

34. Wilt u gebruik van maken vliegtuig camera service?

Ja – Nee - Terug naar de opties Skip to question 31.

35. Wilt u er gebruik van maken van UAV met camera?

Ja - Nee Skip to question 37. - Terug naar de opties Skip to question 31.

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36. Camera's voor UAV- Van wat voor camera's wilt u gebruik maken?

Om inzicht te krijgen in uw gewassen zijn er bandbreedtes waarmee gewerkt wordt. Hoe meer
bandbreedtes, de nauwkeuriger zijn de geproduceerde kaarten die inzicht geven in uw gewassen. Over
het algemeen worden multispectral camera's gebruikt, en is goed om mee te beginnen. Mocht u
specifieke andere wensen hebben, hieronder staan de alternatieven.

Panchromatic (1 bandbreedte)

Multispectral (2 tot 10 bandbreedtes)

Superspectral ( meer dan 10 bandbreedtes)

Hyperspectral (meer dan 100 bandbreedtes)

Camera is reeds in mijn bezit

37. Remote sensing – grond

Vanaf de grond betekent met sensoren op machines naar de gewassen kijken. De data wordt gelijk
verwerkt om vervolgens met de spuiter de juiste hoeveelheid toe te dienen. Dit geeft de hoogste
nauwkeurigheid per gewas. Heeft u interesse in deze sensoren?

Ja - Nee Skip to question 39.

38. Bij het selecteren van sensoren op uw voertuig kunt u kiezen uit passieve of actieve sensoren.
Actieve sensoren hebben een eigen lichtbron waarbij de sensor de reflectie meet. Passieve sensoren
maakt gebruik van de reflectie van de zon. Wilt u actieve of passieve sensoren?

Actieve - Passieve

39. Spuitmachine

Gewasbehandeling is efficiënter en effectiever met de juiste technologische toepassing. Heeft u een


spuitmachine achter een tractor of eentje die zelf rijdt? Wat voor spuitmachine heeft u?

Achter de tractor

Je kan er zelf in rijden Skip to question 41.

Spuitmachine (achter de tractor)

40. Is uw tractor voorzien van een CANBUS en GNSS?

Ja Skip to question 45. - Nee Skip to question 12.

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41. Spuitmachine (zelf rijdend). Is uw machine voorzien van CANBUS?

Ja Skip to question 45. - Nee

42. Spuitmachine. Wilt u uw spuitmachine voorzien van een CANBUS?

Ja - Nee Skip to question 58.

43. Variabel spuiten

Variabel spuiten is het toepassen van verschillende vloeistofhoeveelheden op verschillende plekken.


Het kan worden toegepast tijdens het aanbrengen van pesticiden, mest en loofdoding. Voor het
variabel aanbrengen van pesticiden wordt gebruikt van remote sensing (biomassa index) om de
hoeveelheid nieuw blad deze gevormd heeft. Dit kan in combinatie met het variabel mesten. Daarnaast
kan het worden toegepast op loofdoden aan het eind van het seizoen. De biomassa index wordt
berekend en dosering wordt hierop aangepast.

Terug naar remote sensing Skip to question 31.

Geen interesse

Variabel bemesten

44. Variabel bemesten

Ja interesse, terug naar bodemscan Skip to question 20.

Bodemscan al geselecteerd

Nee geen interesse

45. Gewasbehandeling dmv spuitbomen

De spuitbomen zijn dan verdeeld in secties die onafhankelijk van elkaar kunnen worden in- en
uitgeschakeld. Dit kan handmatig maar ook automatisch icm een navigatie systeem. Vooral handig
voor percelen met onregelmatige vormen, hiermee wordt de overlap teruggebracht tot 1%. Dit
resulteert in een besparing op middelen en gewassen worden niet overgeslagen of dubbel bespoten.
Automatische sectie-aansturing betekent dat de spuitmachine automatisch secties uitschakelt tijdens
het rijden wanneer er overlap of buiten de perceelgrenzen valt. Vooral handig op percelen met
onregelmatige vormen (benodigd GNSS, veldindeling en secties). Wilt u gebruik maken van secties?

Handmatige sectie-aansturing

Automatische sectie-aansturing

Geen sectie-aansturing

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46. Automatische sectie-aansturing vereist een navigatiesysteem. Heeft u een GNSS geselecteerd?

Ja - Nee Skip to question 26. - Terug Skip to question 46.

47. Opties voor spuitbomen. Sectie-aansturing kunt u nog effectiever maken door bepaalde sensoren
in te zetten. Hoogte verstelbare spuitbomen. Beheer het toedienen door de hoogte van uw secties
variabel te verstellen. Automatisch verstellen door middel van sensoren die afstand berekenen om zo
een evenredige toediening te garanderen. Wilt u in hoogte verstelbare spuitbomen?

Graag in hoogte verstelbare secties - Nee bedankt

48. Het is mogelijk om spuitbomen tijdelijk uit te schakelen bij gaten. Hierdoor bespaart u input, vooral
handig als er gaten tussen de rijen zitten. Wilt u slimme spuitbomen dat gaten registreert en enkel
spuit waar nodig?

Graag een slimme spuitboom - Nee bedankt

49. Veldsensoren

Gewasmetingen met een handsensor. Hiermee kunt sluit subjectieve beslissingen uit als het gaat om
een snelle statuscheck van uw gewassen. Wilt u een on-the-go toestel om gelijk de status van uw
gewassen te kunnen meten?

Ja - Nee

50. Vochtsensoren

Deze sensoren worden naast de plant in de grond gebracht, hierdoor is nauwkeurig af te lezen hoeveel
water er voor de planten beschikbaar is. Aan de hand van deze informatie kan besloten worden om te
beregen of niet. Overmatig beregenen of schade aan het gewas door middel van droogte wordt
voorkomen. Dit kan gekoppeld worden aan een weerstation om het optimale beregeningsbeurt vast
te stellen. Nadeel is dat er een representatieve plek moet worden uitgekozen. Heeft interesse in
vochtsensoren?

Ja – Nee

51. Weerstation

Weerstations op een boerderij kunnen zelf hun stroom voorzien en sturen gegevens via het mobiele
netwerk naar een server. Hiermee zijn de gegevens altijd binnen handbereik. Wilt u gebruik maken van
een weerstation?

Ja - Nee

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52. Opties voor weerstation. Een weerstation kan veel verschillende gegevens verzamelen, selecteer
uw voorkeur. Een basis bestaat regelmatig uit: de bovenste vijf en zonne-instraling. Welke gegevens
wilt u verzamelen?

Temperatuur

Relatieve luchtvochtigheid

Neerslag

Wind

Windrichting

Temperatuur van de bodem

Zonne instraling

Ultraviolet Index

Nattigheid van een blad

Water temperatuur

53. Wilt u gebruik maken van historische weergegevens en / of weersvoorspellingen?

Historische weergegevens

Weersvoorspellingen

54. Een korte route naar

Tractor voorzien van slimme technologie Skip to question 12.

Perceelbewerking Skip to question 20.

Zaaien Skip to "Zaaien ."

Onderhoud van gewassen Skip to question 29.

Oogsten en opslag Skip to "Oogsten."

Databeheer Skip to question 59.

Geavanceerd Skip to question 66.

Einde van de vragenlijst Skip to question 69.

Skip to "Oogsten."

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55. Oogsten

Dit is het moment waar het om gaat in een cultivatie cyclus, hoeveel heeft u geteeld? Als u de
opbrengst goed in kaart weet te brengen kunt u uw meer inzicht krijgen in de gevolgen van uw
teeltmaatregelen. Indien u dit vastlegt met behulp van GNSS kunt u dit vergelijken met andere kaarten.
Om een cyclus slim af te sluiten is een opbrengstmeting een optie. Het doel hiervan is om meer inzicht
te krijgen in de opbrengstvariaties van percelen. Aan de hand van de opbrengstmetingen wordt een
opbrengstkaart per perceel gemaakt. Gebruik maken van een opbrengstmonitor?

Om gebruik te maken van een opbrengstmonitor worden er weegsensoren onder de band geplaatst.
Deze data wordt gecombineerd met data vanuit de CANBUS (navigatie en rijsnelheid). Dit
gecombineerd geeft een nauwkeurige locatie van uw opbrengst.

Ja ik wil graag wegen – Nee bedankt

56. Daarnaast kunt u gebruik maken van hyperspectrale camera's. Deze worden ingezet om het netto
oogstresultaat te berekenen. Wilt u gebruik maken van hyperspectrale camera’s?

Ja interesse - Nee bedankt

57. Opslag

De opslag kan ook slim gemonitord worden dankzij sensoren die o.a. temperatuur en luchtvochtigheid
meten. Hierdoor blijven de oogst in optimale staat. Dit kan tot een klimaatcontrolesysteem worden
uitgebreid. Opslag verbetering door middel van:

Sensoren

Klimaatcontrolesysteem

Nee bedankt

58. Een korte route naar

Tractor voorzien van slimme technologie Skip to question 12.

Perceelbewerking Skip to question 20.

Zaaien Skip to "Zaaien ."

Onderhoud van gewassen Skip to question 29.

Oogsten en opslag Skip to "Oogsten."

Databeheer Skip to question 59.

Geavanceerd Skip to question 59.

Einde van de vragenlijst Skip to question 69.

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59. Databeheer

Uw slimme boerderij staat, nu nog een paar keuzes over hoe er met de data gewerkt gaat worden. In
deze testversie wordt het voor nu relatief eenvoudig gehouden. Vooraf een paar vragen. Maakt u al
gebruik van software?

Ja - Nee After the last question in this section, skip to question 61.

60. Maakt u gebruik van een platform (bv FMIS of FIWARE)?

Ja Skip to question 65. - Nee

61. Wilt u gebruik maken van een platform van waaruit alles wordt beheerd?

Ja - Nee

62. Er zijn verschillende manieren om data te visualiseren. De meest gangbare is het meten van KPI's
(Key performance indicators) door middel van dashboards. Deze worden weergeven op uw
computerscherm of draagbare toestellen. Het wordt aangeraden om een dashboard te hebben die uw
bovenstaande keuzes weergeeft. Heeft u hier interesse in?

Ja - Nee

63. Er zijn meerdere manieren om met de gegenereerde data aan de slag te gaan. Een voorbeeld
hiervan is een model dat de toekomstige uitkomst voorspelt aan de hand van historische gegevens.
Een andere voorbeeld is periodieke intervallen achter elkaar te zetten. Of het inschatten van productie.
Hoe wilt u uw data gebruiken?

Toekomstige uitkomsten voorspellen

Periodieke intervallen

Productie modellen

64. Risico management is een andere vorm van data in zetten is bij het inschatten van risico. Waarin
heeft u interesse? Indien u geen antwoord opgeeft wordt dit geregistreerd als geen interesse.

Weer

Biologische kwaliteit

Prijs

Arbeid

Beleid

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65. Overige softwarecomponenten. Er bestaan meerdere software pakketten, aan de hand van uw
selectie wordt er een voorstel wat voor software implementeert moet worden. Heeft u nog overige
voorkeuren? Heeft u interesse in 1 van het volgende?

Registratieprogramma (bijhouden wat er op welk veld gebeurd is en door wie)

Optimaal spuiten (combineert weergegevens, gewasgegevens en spuitgegevens)

Planning assistent (op basis van uw historische gegevens wordt er een plan gemaakt voor

uw percelen)

Werkopdrachten versturen (Maakt mogelijk om medewerkers en uzelf order te geven)

Gewasstatus (Kaarten van bodem & remote sensing worden ingeladen om uw gewassen te

monitoren)

Veldaanpassingen (Hulp bij percelen gelijktrekken, maken van een drainage en irrigatie

plan)

Logistiek (Digitaal bijhouden van voorraden en aangeven wanneer er gekocht moet worden)

Accounting (Hulpprogramma voor account doeleinden)

66. Geavanceerd. De volgende systemen die hier genoemd worden zijn volledig autonoom. De
antwoorden bestaan uit ‘Ja interesse’ en ‘nee’, bij het eerstgenoemde krijgt u brochures via de mail
toegestuurd. Computergestuurd gewassen lokaliseren. Met een systeem als dit is het mogelijk om
gewassen automatisch te detecteren. Dit kan gebruikt worden voor het autonoom verwijderen van
onkruid, gewasonderhoud en oogsten. Dit vergt een volledige implementatie van een GNSS systeem
en uiterst geavanceerde machines.

Ja interesse - Nee

67. Computergestuurd tarra verwijderen. Het verwijderen van rotte, rode of groene aardappelen door
middel van een computergestuurd systeem. Heeft u hier interesse in?

Ja interesse - Nee

68. Tot slot een voorbeeld van geavanceerd informatie display In de (nabije of verre) toekomst behoort
onderstaande afbeelding tot de mogelijkheid. Het heet augmented realitity, een technologie die de
realiteit en de virtuele wereld met elkaar verbindt. In het Nederlands betekent 'augmented reality'
letterlijk: verrijkte werkelijkheid. Het is dus een mix van de realiteit met een virtuele toevoeging of
verrijking. Zou u hier interesse in hebben?

Ja interesse - Nee

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69. Actuatoren. Beheer machineonderdelen met actuatoren – volgt spoedig.

70. Suikerbiet. - Volgt spoedig.

71. Wat vond u van de eerste testversie, een korte survey voor een verbeterde toekomstige versie.

Heeft u nog overige vragen of wensen?

Mist u een product of service?

Heeft u overige op- of aanmerkingen?

Wat is uw beoordeling op:

Structuur - 1 2 3 4 5

Duidelijkheid - 1 2 3 4 5

Uitleg - 1 2 3 4 5

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