Project »COGNAC« - Cognitive Agriculture

In the Fraunhofer lighthouse project »Cognitive Agriculture« (COGNAC), eight Fraunhofer Institutes are jointly conducting research on technologies for the digitalization, automation, and electrification of agricultural processes in order to help maintain the high productivity and quality of conventional agriculture and bring it into line with the objectives of sustainable organic farming.

Measurement data play a key role in this context, with the intention of making such data available as the basis of a digital ecosystem in analogy to the concept of the Industrial Dataspace (IDS). This »Agricultural Dataspace« will give farmers, authorities or environmental organizations access to a broad database on complex agricultural interactions, providing a valid basis for decisions on agricultural work processes and operational procedures.

The project will further develop sensor technologies for the automated registration of environmental parameters. »Cognitive Agriculture« links data from ground-based sensor systems (e.g. on field robots) with remote sensing, weather and yield data and evaluates the large volumes of data over longer time horizons. The project covers these main research areas:

  • Agricultural data space: Open data exchange in an agriculture-specific, digitally networked ecosystem
  • Novel sensor technology: automated interpretation and decision support based on high-resolution measurement data from airborne or ground-based systems using multi-channel measurement information
  • Innovative automation concepts: autonomous field robotics for plant-specific field work as well as robot-guided sensor platforms with specific sensor systems.


Main research area at Fraunhofer IPM

  • Design of a robust, cost-effective, high-resolution hyperspectral 3D sensor
  • Development of a small, lightweight high-resolution soil sensor for nitrous oxide (N2O) based on laser spectroscopy
  • Drone-based multispectral laser scanning methods for sensing the plant condition
  • Offline data processing for seismic imaging, phenotyping, plant health, data evaluation (trafficability analysis, monitoring of pedological and vegetative parameters)


Project finance

The project »Cognitive Agriculture« is being funded within the initiative »Lighthouse Projects – Reducing Time to Market« by the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft.


Project partners

  • Fraunhofer Institute for Experimental Software Engineering IESE (project management)
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Factory Operation and Automation IFF
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems IKTS
  • Fraunhofer Institute of Optronics, System Technologies and Image Exploitation IOSB
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Physical Measurement Techniques IPM
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Mathematics ITWM
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Transportation and Infrastructure Systems IVI


Project duration

10 /2018 until 09/2022