There has been much discussion on whether the trend in farm machinery manufacturing will continue towards ever bigger and more powerful individual machines, or to “swarm” solutions, that is, many small machines.
The Fendt MARS System is the first marketable application of swarm technology in agricultural engineering, and thus presents a completely new solution. The system relies on a number of small, auto-steered and electric units that are deployed for maize drilling.
The autonomous units are filled with seed by an operator, who also monitors their operation and who hauls them to the field on a trailer. Operating at very low noise levels and without lights at night, these units are suitable for drilling fields near villages and homes 24 hours a day. Manufactured to a cost-saving concept and weighing as little as 40kg each, the swarm units coordinate their work in the field, reduce compaction and minimize the hazard that big machines pose to humans and the environment. The robots log all job data into the “Cloud”, and communicate with each other and the operator.