Behold! Swedish firm unveils 5G Onion, veg powered by 5G loaded robot

Behold! Swedish firm unveils 5G Onion, veg powered by 5G loaded robot
HiTech and Digital
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Onions are part of the staple diet in Sweden and, like most vegetables around the world, are grown with the help of a lot of pesticides. Telecom firm Telia took it upon themselves to demonstrate how it could be grown with fewer pesticides and recently showcased the proof with the 5G Onion.

5G is the latest generation of mobile telephony commercially available and has been touted as a game changer in various fields. This service's use cases that provide high-speed internet with low latency extend from medicine to gaming and entertainment to manufacturing.

Recently, Interesting Engineering reported how China was leveraging the technology to improve its production facilities and claims to have made multiple gains in production efficiency. Swedish telecom provider Telia's efforts have also reaped similar benefits.

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Why Onions need 5G?

Onions grown in commercial fields are prone to weeds, which take precious nutrients away from the crop and reduce overall yields. Modern agriculture has relied on chemical pesticides to curb the growth of weeds since they are monetarily cheap to deploy. However, The impact of pesticides is borne by the region's biodiversity and observed through metrics such as a drop in pollinators.

One way to correct this is reverting to organic methods of agriculture, where weeds were removed by hand. However, this is a time-consuming process and difficult to implement at a time when the European Union has set deadlines to phase out the use of pesticides.

In 2021, Telia teamed up with robot manufacturer Ekobot, network provider Axis Communications, And the Research Institutes of Sweden (RISE) on a pilot project to use a 1,500-pound (700 kg) robot as a weed remover in onion farms. Designed to work with surgical precision, the robot uses video technology to identify weeds to be removed and works in real-time using a 5G internet connection.

A limited of 5G onions are available in Telia stores


How 5G helped improve onions

Over the next two years, the Ekobot was used on several onion farms,

Consolidated data from the studies showed that the technology helped reduce pesticide usage by as much as 70 percent.

Not only this, the farmers also reported that the number of pesticides used was reduced from six to two on their farms. The intervention was also estimated to have led to carbon emissions of 19 percent.

The onions themselves were studied by the Rural Economy and Agricultural Society and found to be six percent larger in size. It was also observed that the shelf life of the onions was longer, which further reduced the wastage during storage.

"With the 5G onion, we want to exemplify how today's technology can solve a difficult challenge in a somewhat unexpected way," said Oscar Karlsson, Head of B2C at Telia, in the press release. "Not everyone understands the speed, stability, and security that comes with 5G, but everyone understands taste and almost everyone eats onions."

The company also shared a limited number of onion bulbs in its stores and provided them for free to its customers to spread the word about the 5G Onion.

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