Information and Communication Technologies and Robotics for Sustainable Agriculture
User-centric adoption of sustainable farming operation involving ICT and robotics - Case: Grassland harvesting operations for biogas and bio refinery plants

Project No: 14304

Project dates:
1 Mar 2013 - 28 Feb 2015

Claus Sørensen, Aarhus University (Denmark)

Collaborating Institutions:

Rasmus Nyholm Jørgensen, University of Southern Denmark (Denmark)

Simon Blackmore, Harper Adams University College (United Kingdom)

Timo Oksanen, Aalto University (Finland)

Simon Poulsen, Agro Business Park (Denmark)

Ole Green, Agro Intelligence ApS (Denmark)

Tom Simonsen, Conpleks Innovation ApS (Denmark)

Jens Hansen, Lynex (Denmark)

Antti Suokannas, MTT Agrifood Research Finland (Finland)

Full report


Proposal Summary

Lowland areas and other marginal areas form a huge and currently unused resource of biomass for the biogas and bio refinery industry. Alone for Denmark, it has been estimated that 160-180.000 hectares of unused lowland could be harvested if the appropriate technology was available. This project will develop a novel lightweight, autonomous machine concept for economically and environmentally sound harvest of grass on lowland. The project will adapt an existing commercial mower into an autonomous robot platform, develop implements for cutting, collecting and transporting the harvested material out of the field and develop software to plan, schedule, document and visualize the harvest operation. Additional, the concept will be demonstrated in three countries under realistic field conditions,

Main Results

Main results include targeted system design, machine and implement adaptation and operations planning tools. The Danish GrassBot machine has been adapted into a prototype version of an autonomous workable grass cutting machine. This has involved the original GrassBot machine being retrofitted with sensors and a robot computer enabling functionalities like velocity control, remote operation, autonomous navigation using static way points, etc. The Finnish APU-module has been adapted to a commercial mower and the combined operation was operating in field tests 2013 and 2014. Capacity and fleet dimensioning tool have been developed and has been used for estimating capacity and energy consequences for different configurations of handlings systems for lowland grass harvest. An adapted route and


Commercialization Lynex:
The retrofitted GrassBot has received much interest for the whole autonomous concept as such. However, the key obstacle for further commercialization is the price. Concrete negotiations between Lyniex and a potential foreign actor interested in the complete concepts is currently undergoing.

Commercialization Conpleks:
After having delivered the robotics hardware and auto-steering and positioning software as agreed as part of the work packages of the GrassBots project, Conpleks has continued to further develop a generic OEM robotics software package, ready to be integrated on agricultural robots, e.g. for grass cutting and other agricultural or field robot applications.
Currently, Conpleks is in cooperation with three domestic and one International company,