Fraunhofer Lighthouse Project “Cognitive Agriculture (COGNAC)”

Smart Farming: With Fraunhofer towards highly efficient and sustainable agriculture of the future.


as an Opportunity for Agriculture

In the Fraunhofer lighthouse project “Cognitive Agriculture” (short: “COGNAC”), eight Fraunhofer Institutes are conducting joint research in the area of Smart Farming in order to enable farmers to achieve high productivity in a digitalized world in balance with other goals such as sustainability, resource efficiency, or product quality.


With the help of innovative concepts for automation and novel sensor technology, Fraunhofer is building a data-based agricultural ecosystem – an “Agricultural Data Space”, which is set to become a milestone in digitalized agriculture.


The value chain starts with the agricultural production, but in the long run will also include further process steps and cultivation steps.

Smart Farming on our blog

Current posts, information, and insights about Smart Farming and the Fraunhofer lighthouse project “COGNAC”

Project flyer

Fraunhofer lighthouse project "Cognitive Agriculture"

More information about the project.

Innovation Areas in the Smart Farming Project “Cognitive Agriculture”

With “COGNAC”, Fraunhofer is not only designing and testing an integrated platform for information-based (cognitive) agriculture, but is also developing corresponding automation concepts, monitoring solutions, and cognitive services. The aim is to show ways of linking the numerous isolated solutions and making them universally usable as a whole in order to achieve the highest productivity and sustainability.

© iStock/wundervisuals/IESE

Digital Ecosystem

Agricultural Data Space

Easy data exchange in an agro-specific Digital Ecosystem that enables multivalent use and linking of complex agricultural datasets in secure data spaces while supporting cognitive services.

Agricultural Data Space

Biosphere monitoring - new sensor technology, Fraunhofer IESE
© iStock/wundervisuals/IESE

Biosphere Monitoring

Novel Sensor Technology

Automated acquisition, integration, and interpretation of multi-channel high-resolution measurement data from novel drone- and robot-based sensor systems to support information-based decision-making.

Novel Sensor Technology

Autonomous field robotics - innovative automation concepts, Fraunhofer IESE
© iStock/wundervisuals/IESE

Autonomous Field Robotics

Innovative Automation Concepts

Autonomous field robotics for plant-specific field work by means of a lightweight, electrified robotic platform with specific sensor systems.

Innovative Automation Concepts

Decision Support - Cognitive Services, Fraunhofer IESE
© iStock/wundervisuals/IESE

Decision Support

Cognitive Services

Cognitive services process data into information, which ultimately serves to support decision-making and process optimization. To do so, methods from Artificial Intelligence (AI) are used as well as classical statistical analyses or control systems.

Cognitive Services

News about Smart Farming and the Fraunhofer Lighthouse Project “COGNAC”


Smart Farming in our Blog  / 25.,05.2022

»CURT« field robot: An innovative manipulator for weed regulation

The aim of the mobile agricultural robot "CURT" (Crops Under Regular Treatment) from Fraunhofer IPA is to use its cognitive abilities to help shape the agriculture of the future by making plant protection measures autonomous in labour-intensive, organic and pesticide-free, conventional cultivation. [in German]


Smart Farming in our Blog / 21.07.2021

Testing of new sensor technologies in the lighthouse project COGNAC

In the context of the Fraunhofer lighthouse project COGNAC, different sensors for recording soil and plant parameters have been developed and could already be tested successfully in various measuring campaigns. [in German]


Smart Farming on our Blog / 12.11.2020

Seismic surface waves for the measurement of spatial soil density

In the Fraunhofer lighthouse project COGNAC, Fraunhofer IKTS is developing an automated, robot-capable system for the measurement of soil density in the first depth meter that generates spatial soil density maps, which can be included in cultivation planning. [in German]

How digital is agriculture?

Listen to the ZD.B Podcast (episode 6) and find out how digitalization is changing agriculture. Interview with IESE director Prof. Liggesmeyer. [in German]

Cognitive Agriculture (COGNAC)

Agriculture of Tomorrow

The Fraunhofer lighthouse project COGNAC researched concepts and technologies for the digital transformation in agriculture.

Fraunhofer Competencies in the Area of Agricultural Technology and Smart Farming

The eight participating Institutes of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft are working on innovations for agriculture in various areas. Below are some examples of their competencies and projects.


Fraunhofer IESE

  • Digital platforms for Smart Farming
  • Digital Ecosystems
  • Data engineering

Mastering Software Diversity in Agricultural Technology  

Digitale Dörfer (German only)


Fraunhofer IFF

  • Optical sensor systems for capturing agronomic parameters from crops
  • Development of industrial soft sensors using Machine Learning
  • Making spectral measurement systems usable for the consumer market
Soft Sensors [in German] 


Fraunhofer IKTS

  • Water purification, closed water cycles, recovery of reusable materials
  • Bioenergy, energy storage, energy conversion, energy management
  • Sensor and actuator systems, micro- and nano-electronics as well as industrial testing systems


Fraunhofer IOSB


Projekt AgriApps (German only)

Project AGATA  


Fraunhofer IPA

  • Autonomous small robots for agriculture
  • Cloud navigation with cross-sensor localization methodology for cooperative planning in field swarms
  • Actuator systems for applications in Precision Farming
  • Vertical Farming in urban contexts

Robotics in Agriculture  

Vertical Farming  

"CURT" robot systems for the agriculture of the future



Fraunhofer IPM

  • Mobile sensor systems for highly sensitive detection of N2O emission of fields
  • Gas sampling system for use in agriculture
  • Lightweight sensor systems for 3D airborne collection
  • Interpretation and evaluation of 3D data and 2D image data

Nitrous Oxide Sensors in Agriculture, p. 60  

Object detection - laser scanning 


Fraunhofer ITWM

  • Resource-efficient logistics planning under uncertainty
  • Multi-criteria decision support

ConWearDi – Smart Processes in Construction

Smart Farming


Fraunhofer IVI

  • Electrical powertrains
  • Automated vehicle control
  • Localization methods and trajectory planning for vehicles
  • Automated fast charging
  • Smart energy supply concepts
  • Highly automated field implement technology

Contact persons of the Fraunhofer lighthouse project “Cognitive Agriculture”

Peter Liggesmeyer

Contact Press / Media

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Peter Liggesmeyer

Director Fraunhofer IESE
Project Manager “Cognitive Agriculture”

Phone +49 631 6800-1100

Ralf Kalmar

Contact Press / Media

Ralf Kalmar

Management Business Development
Contact for Smart Farming
Contact for ”Cognitive Agriculture”

Phone +49 631 6800-1603

Bernd Rauch

Contact Press / Media

Bernd Rauch

Expert »Data Ecosystems«, Dept. Architecture-Centric Engineering

Phone +49 631 6800-2241