The global demand for food is expected to grow considerably as a consequence of the expected population increase and the increasing demand of consumers for product quality and differentiation. In this perspective the global need for food is expected to increase by 70% until 2050. As a consequence, agrifood production will have a crucial effect on the future land use, water resources, climate, biodiversity, etc. To this end, bioproduction and the related distribution systems have to tackle a number of environmental, technological, organisational, financial, and political challenges over the coming decades. The goals that have to be met towards this direction include the increased productivity, reduced waste in the chain, optimized water management, optimised energy efficiency, and reduced GHG emissions. Innovative technologies such as GIS, Telematics, sensors networks, automation control systems, satellite navigation, and robotics that are originated from the different solution domains, can pave the way towards sustainable and efficient agrifood production and the corresponding distribution systems. However, a preliminary step in the direction of achieving increasing efficiency in terms of sustainability is a renewed focus on the usage of these advanced technologies. Such a development increases the demand for advanced management tools based on operational research techniques and methodologies that are able to cope with the inherent biological and dynamic nature of agricultural operations. These tools cover all four levels of planning, i.e. strategic, tactical, operational, and execution level including management tools, for planning, scheduling, on-line coordination of machinery fleets, mission planning for autonomous machines, route planning, area coverage planning, etc.
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Operational Research Society Annual Conference, 2013