MARS stands for Mobile Agricultural Robot Swarms. Or in other words, it stands for agriculture of the future.
They are mobile. They are cloud-controlled. And they are many. They are the field robots of the future from Fendt. As a team, they collaborate in a completely autonomous and efficient way and with high precision. The basic idea is simplification.
How? Fewer sensors, robust control units and a clear hardware structure make each individual MARS robot extremely reliable and productive. At the same time, the use of a large number of small, identical robots operating in a swarm enables smooth running of the job, even in the event of the failure of a single unit.
Their light weight results in a high level of safety and negligible soil compaction. And MARS robots are ready for operation, all around the clock. These aspects combine to make field robotic systems a very attractive alternative for the farmer of the future. This is our vision.
This is how robot-based precision farming works when planting corn
The logistic unit takes care of transport, seed supply, battery charge and highly precise navigation of the robots.
Each robot has its own integrated planting unit and is driven electrically. Communication with the Logistic Unit is done via the Cloud.
Task planning, live monitoring and administration of seed data can be done, for example, with a tablet from any location.
The satellite-based navigation facilitates autonomous operation and accurate geo-referenced documentation of the planting data.
The OptiVisor algorithm optimizes (optimizer), and supervises (supervisor) the planting operation constantly. Intervention is possible at any time, independent of location.
The farmer only needs to do the seed planning (via app) and manage the transport logistics of the robot fleet.
Can MARS secure the future of the earth?
The needs of our global population for food, energy and resources is growing as the number of people on our planet keeps expanding. In order to rise to this challenge, Fendt is continuously thinking ahead. Fendt began revolutionizing agriculture in 1930, with the introduction of the first Fendt Dieselross tractor. With the EU-funded research project MARS, we will take a quantum leap in site specific farming. And with autonomous production systems we pave the way for yet another revolution.
Efficiency, sustainability and productivity. These are the features inherent in the programming of our field robots.
For sustainable increase in yields, the concept MARS considers a wide range of economic, technical and ecological factors. Agronomy considerations are at the heart of seed patterns. In combination with an exact record of each individual plant, operations over an entire crop cycle (tillage, planting, pesticides, fertilizers, harvest) can be executed in a very precise way. At the same time, the small robots need a surprisingly low amount of energy to move in the field. This reduces both the amount of inputs and the costs of operating as well. Moreover the lightweight and robust robots are very silent and efficient in doing their work, owing to their low-maintenance electric drive. The battery-operated swarms cause no emissions and no pollution. It is up to the farmer to decide from which energy source he refuels the robots (public electricity network, own biogas plant or photovoltaic facilities, wind power or even fuel cells).
Whether a small field with only five or a large area with 50 or more MARS robots – the bottom line is a more rewarding and sustainable future for agriculture.
The research project MARS
The Fendt research project MARS is funded by the European Union within the scope of the FP7 program and is part of Echord++.
Start of the Project: May 1, 2015
Duration: 18 months
Project partner: University of Applied Sciences Ulm (Servicerobotics)