While complete automation of agricultural machinery is still in the development stage, there is already a lot of progress in the market. Horsch, via its Horsch Roboter development platform, has been working on the automation and autonomous driving technology since the early 2000s.
Almost 20 years ago the company bought the first AutoFarm GPS steering system. It was the first realtime kinematic positioning (RTK) system that allowed for driving within the range of a centimetre.
“When it worked, we immediately thought, if something like this works, we should also be able to drive completely autonomously. But at that time the project came to nothing,” says Michael Horsch, one of the company owners.
In an article published recently by Horsch, Michael says when the company bought its test farm, AgroVation in the Czech Republic, they had the chance to focus on controlled traffic farming (CTF) and track planning.
“We originally started with an agronomic point of view, but we soon realised that CTF first and foremost is about planning. This was another step towards autonomous driving systems,” Michael says in the article.
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