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Safety For Emerging Robotics and Autonomous aGriculture (SAFER AG) Workshop

The majority (80%>) agricultural digital technologies are currently in the research and testing phase . This provides a unique opportunity to evaluate and address potential safety concerns to labor and the environment before widespread adoption of these technologies. Before widespread adoption there are four areas that need to be investigated:

  1. Understanding the risk associated with agricultural robotic technology. This includes risk of injury, financial risks, insurability, risk potential for different scales of technology, and evaluating risk due to continuous software improvements.
  2. The role that regulation and standards will play in the adoption of safe digital technologies. This includes examining what local, state or federal laws and policies could hinder (or benefit) adoption of autonomy in agriculture, existing standards and gaps within standards, how are manufacturers implementing standards, and what are safety critical IP that need to be encouraged to remain in public domain.
  3. Review existing research efforts (and gaps in research efforts) to investigate the role that new digital technologies play in farmworkers safety and health and documentation of injuries and fatalities associated with new technologies.
  4. Workforce implication of new technology adoption, including training needs, cultural implications, impact on labor supply and rural connectivity.

This proposed conference aims to bring together representatives from farm operators, academia, industry, and governmental interests to discuss and provide current information; gaps in knowledge; and research needs that connect to issues such as risk, insurability, regulations and policy, workforce and societal implications.