Thursday, 20 October 2016 11:25

MARS – not out of this world!

Written by  Mark Daniel

Many tractor manufacturers are talking about autonomous operation, most going about it by modifying existing products.

High-end German tractor builder Fendt looks to be taking a different route: it sees fieldwork of the future being done by multiple robots

Its MARS (mobile agricultural swarm robots) project proposes units working around the clock at high levels of precision and with much less labour onfarm. The company also believes that by using multiple small robots the system would offer more flexibility and allow adaptation to changing conditions or situations.

Early trials are centred on the planting of maize crops in a project being partnered by the University of Ulm and funded by the European Union Open Robotics Development Programme.

The vision sees field robots being transported to a work area by a logistics unit -- a perhaps autonomous trailer or transporter carrying seed, fertiliser and recharge facilities for the robots.

Field units would be battery powered and run electric drive systems, resulting in lower tare weights with the benefit of being able to operate under conditions not suitable for conventionally based machines.

Robots would do the seeding, and be able to adjust seed rates and sowing patterns and record data for proof of placement.

Control would be via an app, used on a tablet or mobile device, allowing control away from the work site. After inputting data on field location and size, setting seed rates and sowing pattern, the system would calculate the time required to complete the task and allocate the appropriate number of robots.

Robots would be able to communicate via a cloud-based system in conjunction with GPS to provide detail such as geo-coordinates of each seed planted, and should a unit break down send a message to the logistics vehicle to organise a replacement.

www.fendt.com 

More like this

Refreshed, versatile Fastrac 4000

JCB has refreshed the Fastrac 4000 series tractors with heavy duty axles, front differential lock, new tyre options, factory-fitted precision guidance options and a new coupling system for swan-neck drawbar trailers and tankers.

Valtra S394 is pick for porkers

Award-winning pig farmer Patoa Farms likely have the only Valtra S394 tractor in New Zealand — but that may soon change given its many benefits. 

Fastrac 8000 fully suspended

JCB has extended its active front-and-rear axle suspension system to its flagship Fastrac 8000 series tractors.

Featured

 

Sting in the tail — DairyNZ

The Government has taken on board dairy sector feedback in its revised Essential Freshwater package but issues remain, says DairyNZ.

Devil will be in the details

A massive reform programme aimed at cleaning up the country’s waterways has been announced by the Government.

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

Dirty water

The Hound understands that Federated Farmers has been cut out of the information loop, for the past year, on the…

Who’s paying?

Your canine crusader noticed a full-page ad recently run in a farming paper calling on meat companies SFF and Alliance…

» Connect with Rural News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter

Popular Reads

Drop in payout looms

Dairy farmers are being told to brace for a big drop in milk payout next season.