Future farming all about MARS

Future farming all about MARS


Machinery
: This sight will certainly turn heads. It's a team of Fendt MARS 'workers' in a paddock in Europe. MARS stands for Mobile Agricultural Robot Swarms and AGCO and Fendt believes it's the way of the future for farming.

: This sight will certainly turn heads. It's a team of Fendt MARS 'workers' in a paddock in Europe. MARS stands for Mobile Agricultural Robot Swarms and AGCO and Fendt believes it's the way of the future for farming.

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IMAGINE sitting in your office watching hundreds of blinking dots on your computer screen, establishing your crop.

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IMAGINE sitting in your office watching hundreds of blinking dots on your computer screen, establishing your crop.

That’s not a stretch if you believe Fendt researchers, who are perfecting what they call MARS (Mobile Agricultural Robot Swarms).

The so-called Fendt Xaver ‘bots’ are autonomous and cloud-controlled for precision tasks.

According to Fendt, as a team, the bots collaborate to do a range of jobs, relying on sensors and robust controls.

What they achieve as a swarm could be akin to establishing a crop with 12.2 metre (40 foot) bar, spraying with a 36m (120ft) boom or spreading a range of nutrient and ameliorant products from 3.6m (12ft) to 12.2m.

And Xaver bots are ready for operation at all times, year-round.

According to Fendt, these aspects combine to make field robotic systems a very attractive alternative for the farmer of the future.

The company said the needs of global population for food, energy and resources was growing as the number of people on our planet kept expanding.

In order to rise to this challenge, Fendt said it was continuously thinking ahead.

It is not well known that Fendt began revolutionising agriculture in 1930, with the introduction of the first Fendt Dieselross tractor.

With the European Union-funded research project Xaver, the company will take a quantum leap in site-specific farming.

Fendt said for sustainable increase in yields, the concept Xaver bots considered a wide range of economic, technical and ecological factors.

Agronomy considerations are at the heart of seed patterns.

In combination with an exact record of each individual plant, operations over an entire crop cycle (tillage, planting, pesticides, fertilisers, harvest) can be executed in a very precise way.

At the same time, the small robots need a surprisingly low amount of energy to move in the field.

This reduces both the amount of inputs and the costs of operating as well.

Moreover the lightweight and robust robots are very silent and efficient in doing their work, owing to their low-maintenance electric drive.

The battery-operated swarms cause no emissions and no pollution.

It is up to the farmer to decide from which energy source he refuels the robots (public electricity network, own biogas plant or photovoltaic facilities, wind power or even fuel cells).

After successfully completing a multi-year MARS research project, AGCO and Fendt decided to develop the robot project up to series-production readiness for the Fendt brand.

An official launch date has yet to be announced, as well as unit costs.

But it could be academic for WA farmers who still are trying to gain reliable communication signals.

This new technology will demand telematics – real-time data transfer capabilities.

Show this story to your local MP.

Xaver is a traditional Bavarian name with deep roots at Fendt.

In the 1930s, the brothers Hermann and Xaver Fendt founded Maschinen-und Schlepperfabrik Xaver Fendt & Co., named after their grandfather Xaver Fendt.

The story Future farming all about MARS first appeared on Farm Online.

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