TechTour: Corn planting with small, swarming robots

by

Fendt sees a future where 12 small robots the size of drink coolers will replace a tractor and eight-row planter for planting corn.

After completing the MARS (Mobile Agricultural Robot Swarms) project with Ulm University of Applied Sciences and funding from the European Union, Fendt and parent company AGCO have decided to take the research one step closer to commercialization.

The new robots, named ‘Xaver’ after former owner Xaver Fendt, were unveiled to the public for the first time at Agritechnica in Hanover, Germany.

The fleet operates under a cloud-based system, which can plan, monitor, and document precise-planting of corn (right up to the position and sowing time of each kernel).

Using the OptiVisor algorithm, each machine is able to calculate optimal paths across a field and the time required to complete a project.

Powered by an approximately 400W electric motor, the robots weigh roughly 50 kilograms, applying a ground pressure of 200g/cm². Tank capacity is around 8kg, and it takes a single robot around one hour to cover 0.1 hectares, with a system of 6-12 covering 1 hectare in roughly the same amount of time.

Inside the Xaver robot

The small Xaver machines dock to refill and recharge at a larger logistics unit, which is equipped with a generator. The logistics unit is also used to transport up to 12 small robots to the field.

“Because it’s a totally new product, we have to evaluate now where is the market volume and who can use this,” says Fendt’s Johannes Lehmann in this TechTour episode, noting they see fleet size varying according to farm size.

Lehmann says they see the price for a package of 12 Xaver robots being set relative to the price of a planter setup carrying out the same task.

RealAgriculture’s Kelvin Heppner caught up with Johannes Lehmann at Agritechnica, to talk about the Xaver fleet.

Wake up with RealAgriculture

Subscribe to our daily newsletters to keep you up-to-date with our latest coverage every morning.

Wake up with RealAgriculture

Other Episodes

Agritechnica (view all)Season 4 (2017) Episode 3

Please register to read and comment.

Privacy Preference Center

Necessary

Necessary cookies help make a website usable by enabling basic functions like page navigation and access to secure areas of the website. The website cannot function properly without these cookies.

gdpr, __cfduid, PHPSESSID, wordpress_test_cookie, woocommerce_items_in_cart, woocommerce_cart_hash, wp_woocommerce_session, wordpress_logged_in, wordpress_sec, wp-settings, wp-settings-time, __cf_mob_redir, wordpress_cache, realag
__cfduid

Marketing

Measuring interactions with the ads on the domain.

__gads,fsk_ut_2317
IDE

Statistics

These are used to track user interaction and detect potential problems. These help us improve our services by providing analytical data on how users use this site.

_ga,_gid,_gat,_cb,_chartbeat2,_chartbeat4
_ga,_gid
metrics_token

Preferences

Preference cookies enable the website to remember information that changes the way the website behaves or looks, like your preferred language or the region that you are in.

chartdefaults, comment_author, comment_author_email, comment_author_url
JSESSIONID, _os_session,anonymous_votes,csrf-param,csrf-token,user,user-id,user-platform,intercom-session,intercom-lou,intercom-session
personalization_id, tfw_exp

 

Register for a RealAgriculture account to manage your Shortcut menu instead of the default.

Register