Field Robots Debut at DLG Feldtage, Revolutionizing Farming

The recent DLG Feldtage near Erwitte, Germany, marked a significant milestone in agricultural innovation by spotlighting field robots for the first time. The event, held from June 11 to 13, attracted 17,000 visitors from 45 countries to the 290-hectare arable farm Gut Brockhof, where 370 exhibitors from 18 countries showcased their latest advancements. Among these exhibitors, the new ‘FarmRobotix’ program stood out, bringing together a variety of practical robot and precision farming solutions tailored for both organic and conventional arable farming.

This year’s fair was a departure from tradition, where the ‘Field Robot Event’—previously the main attraction in the field of autonomy and robotics—got integrated into FarmRobotix. The Field Robot Event, known for its miniature robots designed by student teams, continued to captivate audiences but was now part of a broader narrative emphasizing practical applications.

One of the standout demonstrations came from Dutch startup Aigro, which showcased its small electric Up field robot. This robot followed a fixed pattern during the fair, mowing grass between imaginary rows of fruit trees, a task it is specifically designed for. Aigro has already sold several units of the Up, indicating a positive reception in the market.

In a first for field demonstrations, the Tipard 1800 modular tool carrier from South German company Digital Workbench made its debut. The Tipard 1800 features an adjustable track width and automatic level control, making it versatile for various farming tasks. It was paired with a specially adapted hoeing bar from Kratzer, another South German company, highlighting the collaborative spirit within the industry.

Farming Revolution, a company with roots in Bosch and Amazone, presented its Farming GT hoeing robot. This robot is the evolved form of the Amazone BoniRob, first introduced in 2009. With 22 units already active across Germany and other European countries, the Farming GT is a testament to the growing acceptance of robotic solutions in agriculture.

AgXeed also made a notable appearance with its AgBot, equipped with wide tracks and an Amazone Cenius cultivator featuring AutoTill technology. Additionally, a four-wheeled AgBot was demonstrated with the Ecorobotix Ara spot sprayer, showcasing its versatility.

Central to the event was the VTE field robot/autonomous tractor from Combined Powers, a collaboration between Krone and Lemken. The VTE, which pulled a Karat 10 cultivator during the demo, can be transported on the road behind a tractor using a specially developed drawbar, emphasizing its practical design.

Artificial intelligence (AI) has become a significant player in modern agriculture, as demonstrated by the InRowING from Austrian company Farm-ING. This AI-supported smart hoe can recognize plants and hoe around them, working on 3 to 11 rows in crops like sugar beets, lettuce, and cabbage. With a limited production series of 15 units sold in Central Europe, the InRowING is priced from €65,000.

Berlin startup Escarda Technologies showcased its innovative approach to weed control using diode lasers, which are more efficient than traditional CO2 lasers. Escarda developed a version with 10 lasers for 5 rows of tomato plants, costing between €850,000 and €900,000. The company is currently working on obtaining CE approval for use in Europe.

German company SAM Dimension also demonstrated its weed control solution through spot spraying based on task maps created by drones. These drones can map 60 to 80 hectares per hour from a height of 60 meters using an RGB camera developed by SAM. The service is priced between €10 and €35 per hectare, making it a cost-effective solution for large fields.

The DLG Feldtage’s focus on field robots underscores a broader trend towards automation and precision in agriculture. As these technologies continue to evolve, they promise to revolutionize farming practices, making them more efficient and sustainable.

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