AGCO presented the project Mobile Agricultural Robot Swarms (further - MARS). The company is already known as a manufacturer of various agricultural machinery. The solution MARS is different in that it presents a fundamentally new approach, namely, the maximum possible degree of seeding automation.
All stages (planning, monitoring and seed application) are performed by a robotic platform. An interesting feature of MARS is the use of the flock principle. One field can be seeded by a group of 6-12 robots that are controlled from a single center. The system divides the field for sowing on the sections of the «individual zones of responsibility» for each robot and then keeps accurate records of the coordinates of the introduction of each grain. To obtain the coordinates of the technics, a GPS system is used. If a problem occures with one of the seeders during the work, the system takes into account this event and «delegates» the processing of its part of the field to another one that is operating. This ensures complete coverage of the seeding area even in the event of a malfunction of one of the robots.
There is a possibility of simultaneous sowing of different crops on different parts of the field, for which each robot-seeder receives its own set of seeds. The work data of each member of the «flock of robots» is transferred to a single control center, and there is an additional exchange of information between robots. The data is stored locally, different channels are used for their transmission, which guarantees the safety of the information.
At the end of the work, the customer has the opportunity to view the report on the work done, the parameters of the sowing operations carried out. This will be needed to plan the forthcoming work on fertilization and plant protection.
Each individual robot seeder weighs 50 kg, runs on a battery, is driven by a 400-watt electric motor. Therefore, such a technics stands out with a low noise level, which makes it possible to use it even in city conditions. The pressure on the soil is 200 g/cm² (less than that of a person's foot). The system is designed for use around the clock seven days a week. Since fuel is not used, there is no likelihood of its leakage and soil contamination during work.
To optimize costs, the MARS system calculates the most economical trajectory for each robot within its processing area. In general, this is a fundamentally new approach, which can be very interesting for large agro-holdings.
Of course, if you need to sow immediately on a big area, you will have to use a large number of seeders. It is recommended to use starting fertilizers in order to obtain the maximum return when sowing cereals. For what there are two ways - simultaneously with the seed use a sprayer, or the seed drill must have a set of equipment for introducing a liquid starter fertilizer.
The company «Comprehensive AgroService» makes modernization of seeders and cultivators for the liquid fertilizers usage. Thanks to this conversion, the seed drill can simultaneously spray liquid fertilizers, UAN, PPP or a mixture thereof during typical tasks.
In this case, in one pass through the field the seeding unit will perform several types of processing of the territory at once - sowing and the introduction of those preparations that are in the tank. The application process is controlled by the «Vodoley» spraying computer equipped with a GPS module. Its main task is to synchronize the power of the pump with the speed of the machinery. This approach, with the retention of the exact dose of application of the active substance per hectare of field, provides savings of the fertilizers with an increase in yield.
Modernization allows to save the enterprise's funds, since there is no need to purchase separate equipment - new opportunities will appear for the existing equipment.