Developer introduces new smart farming product
Cognitive Technologies announced the launch of the world’s first C2-A2 Agrodroid (Cognitive 2 – Agro 2 – Droid 1), an industrial model of the universal control system for autonomous agricultural machinery.
“C2-A2 is an artificial brain that is equipped with a cradle—a universal device for fast connection with different agricultural machinery: harvesters, tractors, sprayers, and others,” said Olga Uskova, President of Cognitive Technologies. “Within our team, we consider C2-A2 as a brother-in-law of the world-famous R2-D2 (an astromech droid character of the Star Wars epic space opera).
“Installation of C2-A2 Agrodroid makes any harvester or tractor autonomous and any agricultural activity smart. Supplying the solution with a cradle makes it possible to move this artificial brain from one machine to another without purchasing a new system each time,” continued Uskova.
The C2-A2 Agrodroid is developed on the basis of the Cognitive Agro Pilot—an autonomous driving system for agricultural machinery that was presented earlier. The key innovation of the new product is the state-of-the-art convolutional neural network (CNN) that was modified by the cognitive pilot team for agricultural purposes and tasks.
“On international agricultural market this is the first product of such type that is based on standard Nvidia computing device (Nvidia Jetson TX2) with deep neural networks,” said Uskova.
A key feature of the new product is complete safety of all the fieldwork. In comparison with the existing autonomous driving systems for agricultural machinery, which are GPS-based, the neural network-based C2-A2 opens a new class of systems that can protect equipment and people from all possible collisions.
Another competitive advantage of the presented solution is the lack of expensive sensors. Cognitive Technologies’ team has developed a computer vision system that uses a single video camera.
The use of just one sensor, not three or four, allows a three- to five-times reduction of cost for the whole solution. The final cost of the C2-A2 Agrodroid will be about $3,000, which is approximately 1.5% of the cost of the combine harvester and about 3% of the cost of the tractor.
"We estimate the agrodroid’s market volume at $94 billion and expect to get at least 15% market share in the next five years. The world’s tractor fleet that is ready for our solution is about 27 million machines,” said Uskova.
Priority markets include Canada, Ireland, France, Argentina, Brazil, South Africa, and Kazakhstan.
The C2-A2 can perform autonomous movement in plowed ground / unplowed ground, mowed field / unmowed field, along the rigs, and along the rolls. It can conduct autonomous U-turns at the end of the field, perform autonomous unloading of crops into a bunker or truck, and work at night and in poor weather conditions.