Autonomous Field Robotics – Innovative Automation Concepts

Innovative Automation Concepts in Field Work

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

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Autonomous field robotics for plant-specific field work
Autonomous field robotics for plant-specific field work

Development of methods

  • for cooperative perception of the environment
  • for automated path planning 
  • for integration into the cognitive process automation from the Agricultural Data Space

Fraunhofer is contributing its long-time expertise in the areas of robotics, drive technology, and quick-charging technologies.

An efficient interplay of technologies will support the agricultural work processes. For example, individual plant treatment can significantly reduce the negative effects of large-scale application of chemicals.

The project makes a major contribution  

  • to continuous measurement data collection and field management through autonomous action
  • to the introduction of future-oriented drive technology in agriculture
  • to the reduction of soil compaction due to small, lightweight units
  • to more eco-friendliness
  • and, finally, to the use of modular systems that communicate thanks to appropriate interfaces.

Fraunhofer IESE Smart Farming COGNAC
© Fraunhofer IVI

In a digitalized world, how can farmers balance increased productivity with sustainable cultivation and high quality?

Some of the COGNAC partner institutes are now deepening the fundamentals from the research in the lighthouse project in the context of two new studies commissioned by the State Office for the Environment, Agriculture and Geology of the State of Saxony (LfULG).

Together with Fraunhofer IKTS and two associations from the energy sector, Fraunhofer IVI is, on the one hand, studying new approaches for decentralized energy supply in agriculture and in rural areas. Here, the future potential of different technologies, such as fuel cells, heat storage, or power-to-X, is to be assessed and future implementation in demonstrator plants is to be prepared. On the other hand, a concept for the development of an autonomous swarm system for plant cultivation is being developed in workshops with TU Dresden and industry partners. With topics such as cognitive evaluation of sensor data or implementation of standard interfaces for automation, the process ties in seamlessly with the COGNAC innovation areas.

Automation via field robotics enables continuous collection of sensor data with local resolution. The information derived from this data makes it possible to further optimize agricultural work processes. The goal of the development is a lightweight, fully electrified field robotic unit consisting of an autonomously driving platform and a drone. 

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

Do you have more questions about automation concepts? – Contact us!

Fraunhofer Institute for Transportation and Infrastructure Systems IVI

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01069 Dresden, Germany

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