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Autonomous Positioning and Sensing Kits for Agriculture Launched

By Mike Ball / 12 Sep 2020
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Hexagon autonomous tractor

Hexagon’s Autonomy and Positioning division has launched a new series of autonomy positioning and sensing kits for agricultural applications, through a collaboration between the company’s NovAtel and AutonomouStuff brands. The kits have been developed as part of Hexagon’s Smart Autonomous Mobility solutions portfolio, and are targeted towards OEMs of agricultural and robotic machinery.

The new kits were validated using a specially designed autonomous tractor research and development vehicle, with advanced features such as object detection and classification, simultaneous relative localization and mapping, absolute positioning through GNSS technology, and localization sensor fusing. The tractor has been developed with safety-critical situational and environmental awareness technologies for autonomous operation, and can also be remote-controlled when required.

The positioning and sensing kits have been optimized for autonomous agriculture applications, incorporating products such as the SMART7 antenna and the NovAtel OEM7 driver powered by the Robot Operating System (ROS) for autonomous robotic capabilities. The kits also feature TerraStar GNSS Correction Services, ALIGN heading and relative positioning firmware, and SPAN GNSS+INS technology. In addition to agricultural robotics, the kits can also be used to develop other off-road autonomy applications.

Michael Martinez, agriculture segment manager at Hexagon | NovAtel, commented: “These positioning and sensing kits provide developers with technology bringing assured positioning to autonomy in agriculture. Robotic-machinery manufacturers or those experienced in autonomy may be unfamiliar with the unique challenges facing agriculture applications. Conversely, those experienced with agriculture may not have the expertise to integrate positioning and sensing products within autonomous solutions. We can help in both cases through these positioning and sensor kits, as demonstrated by our autonomous tractor.”

John Buszek, VP of products and services at Hexagon | AutonomouStuff, said: “We’re excited to use this tractor as a platform to validate the human identification, obstacle detection and enhanced environmental awareness that our sensing kits add to our assured positioning solutions in agriculture. The sensing and positioning technologies we’ve integrated on this demonstration platform showcase the Smart Autonomous Mobility portfolio, which enables and accelerates the development of autonomy in agriculture applications from prototyping to production.”

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Posted by Mike Ball Mike Ball is our resident technical editor here at Unmanned Systems Technology. Combining his passion for teaching, advanced engineering and all things unmanned, Mike keeps a watchful eye over everything related to the unmanned technical sector. With over 10 years’ experience in the unmanned field and a degree in engineering, Mike’s been heading up our technical team here for the last 8 years. Connect & Contact
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