From Traditional to Smart Farming

How Continental is Shaping the Future of Agriculture

Industry 4.0 is often associated with smart factories within the chemical or automotive industry, but it also has a lasting impact on more traditional lines of work, such as the agricultural sector.

Continental Solutions for Smart Farming

That is why today’s article will focus on the latest developments in smart farming – a field of interest Continental continues to expand its activities.

Driving Factors for Smart Farming

The impact of industry 4.0 is undisputable across industries. Also, the agricultural sector is becoming increasingly smart: an important development considering current data and societal shifts:

  • It is common knowledge that the world population is continuously growing. Today we count around 7.9 billion people worldwide. According to the United Nations forecasts this number is going to rise to 10 billion in 2050.
  • This development goes hand in hand with urbanization and presents an undeniable problem: the demand for food and efficient processes is increasing dramatically while the arable land for cultivation is dwindling. The reasons are not surprising: road and urban constructions, erosions, and improper cultivation lead to an annual loss of farmland of approximately 12 million hectares per year. This is equivalent to more than 12 million soccer fields!
  • Besides, the consumer behavior of the people is changing towards a more thoughtful way of living. Due to growing prosperity among society, the awareness for environmental protection, production processes, the origin of products, farming methods, animal husbandry, as well as food safety and quality assurance massively increased over the past years.
  • This change towards a more sustainable future is also visible in the organization of value chains that are increasingly concerned about reducing the ecological footprint of their products.

These developments call for sustainable agricultural solutions that have a positive impact on key aspects such as productivity, irrigation options, and the profitability of individual farms to secure the food supply and livelihoods of current and future generations – a challenge Continental’s Off-Highway organization is trying to tackle in close cooperation with the agricultural industry.

With sensor and camera applications from Continental, drones and robots can collect extensive data on the condition of fields and plants.
Continental as Farmers’ Development Partner

The ambition of Continental’s Off-Highway organization is to create smart solutions for the industry- and future-relevant topics of digitalization, connectivity, and sustainability. For the agricultural industry, this objective is reflected in improving labor, machine, and soil efficiency by implementing transparent work processes and workflows:

"We look at the entire system in the process. At the same time, we focus on environmentally friendly agriculture and develop ideas for smart products and systems."

Mario Branco
Head of Business Development Off-Highway at Continental

To address global and local challenges in the agricultural sector, Continental highly benefits from its cross-sector expertise of other Off-Highway areas, such as material handling and construction & mining, as well as from the passenger car and commercial vehicle industry. These insights concern learnings from material sciences, big data analytics, automation, and sensor technology that are integrated and leveraged to flexibly create tailor-made solutions for the agricultural sector. But also, the close collaboration with farmers worldwide plays a crucial role in the development process of smart farming solutions to better understand farmers’ needs and the challenges they are currently facing. The result are technologies that are based on local needs and enable efficient and sustainable use of local resources, help customers to harness and optimize production potential through digitalization, and thus improve the local and global agricultural supply chain from crop yields to individual farmer safety.


"We work hand in hand with local farmers around the world to develop digital technologies as well as vehicles that enable high-yield, efficient agricultural operations."

Christian Kötz
Member of Continental’s Executive Board responsible for the Tire division

In this context, Continental understands itself as a development partner for the global agricultural sector as well as local farmers to provide an added value for the involved stakeholders and drive innovations within the agricultural business. This is not particularly surprising, considering where the company comes from: “Local farmers’ knowledge complements the expertise of the global agricultural sector. As an international technology company with roots in the German state of Lower Saxony, which is heavily dependent on agriculture, we see this every day in our fields and farmlands. That is why we work hand in hand with local farmers around the world to develop digital technologies, such as intelligent tires or monitoring systems for automated and connected machines, as well as vehicles that enable high-yield, efficient agricultural operations”, says Christian Kötz, member of Continental’s Executive Board responsible for the Tire division.

Smart Farming Solutions for the Agricultural Industry

An example of a smart solution that already supports the agricultural transformation towards industry 4.0 is Continental’s fully electric and autonomous robotic equipment carrier Contadino, which can be fitted modularly for agricultural purposes and monitors the growth process of plants, weeds, sows, seeds, and delivers nutrients where needed.

Also, Continental’s ProViu 360 is a valuable solution to farmers. The digital camera system provides a meaningful 360° all-around view of the machine in HD resolution on a touch display and captures valuable information on the condition of the vehicle.

Besides, Continental is working on applying telematics hardware from other off-highway projects for the agricultural sector such as learnings concerning drone technology from the conveyor belt industry. The aim is to connect the farmers’ vehicles to the external environment such as the operators’ cloud, other vehicles, or the surrounding infrastructure.

Also, the tire’s section is evolving as Continental’s intelligent tires prove. They are equipped with VF (very high flexion) technology and sensors to continuously measure and monitor the tire’s condition to increase productivity, yield, and operator comfort while reducing fuel consumption, tire wear, downtime and maintaining costs.


Shaping the Agricultural Economy of Tomorrow

The agricultural business is in the midst of a major transformation towards industry 4.0 that triggers challenges and provides huge opportunities at the same time. To benefit from synergies and establish long-term partnerships both, solution providers and farmers, must cooperate and closely work together on smart solutions. A successful example of this is the collaboration between Continental and the agricultural machinery manufacturer CLAAS. Both jointly worked on an intelligent drive belt that uses sensor technology to permanently monitor the drive belts’ condition in combines and facilitate predictive maintenance that way.

If you are also interested in such a project and would like to partner up with us to shape the agricultural infrastructure of tomorrow, please do not hesitate to contact our expert:

Mario Branco

Mario Branco

Head of Business Development Continental Off-Highway


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