Centéol is a project of autonomous agricultural robotics guided by GNSS RTK, devised by the equipment manufacturer Kuhn and the startup AgreenCulture to respond to the increasing scarcity of labour in the agricultural world, the increasing weight of agricultural machinery, and to allow farmers to concentrate on tasks with higher added value.
This challenge took place in Bourgogne, France, not far from Sens, in spring the spring of 2018.
This project tests 3 robots, designed to manage 5 different phases of the cultivation of a plot of maize.
From preparation to fertilisation, including sowing and weeding, these autonomous robots took up the challenge of carrying out the technical itinerary with very little human intervention.
The challenge was carried out on a 50-hectare plot of land (which corresponds to a farm plot with the project to go to the limits of the technology). The robots performed all tasks, from tillage to fertilisation.
Agreenculture, with its robots, aims to offer ecological and economically viable alternatives for agriculture.
A TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANTAGE Geopositioning is the key factor in robotics.
The robots are equipped with tracks and a 30hp engine. The tracks allow for less soil compaction and reduce the ground pressure to 14 kPA, even though the passes are tighter than a normal tractor, the impact on the plot is halved. The width of the implements has been adapted to the power of the robots to optimise engine power. There is a 5-row tillage tool, a seed drill and a 6-row hoeing tool. Chemical weed control is carried out on the row by a boom that covers 9 rows.
On-board GPS beacons allow the robots to be geolocated with centimeter accuracy. The 41L fuel tank gives the machines an autonomy of 24 hours of work.
Versatility: 5 tools in 2018
Autonomy: 24 hours
Accuracy: centimetric precision
Ecology: reduction of inputs and soil protection
CENTEOL challenge timeline
October 2017 - Soil Analysis
Precifield provided reliable and accurate soil testing.
March 2018 - Furrow preparation
Robots work the furrow width
April 2018 - Seeding modulation and localised fertilisation
The soil analyses made it possible to modulate the seed density according to the soil potential but also to modulate the quantities of fertilizer to be applied. 3 robots were used simultaneously on the same plot. The first one deposited the right amount of fertilizer in the furrow. The other 2 sowed at a speed of up to 8km/h while modulating the sowing density.
May 2018 - Post-emergence fertilisation
1 robot applied the right amount of nitrogen to the maize.
June 2018 - Weeding
2 robots evolved to weed the maize up to 3 times.
October 2018 - Harvesting
The robots obey an artificial intelligence that allows them to optimise their routes while avoiding possible collisions. But in the event of an obstacle in the field, the robots also have a safety system, consisting of a radar and a bumper sensitive to contact with these obstacles.
The robotisation of agricultural tasks frees up the farmer's time, allowing him to concentrate on the agronomic aspect of his farm and the monitoring of his crops.
Sources : Lecocq 2018, Pleinchamp, 50 ha de maïs livrés aux robots ; Portail 2020, materielagricole Des robots Kuhn sans pression ; Le Challenge Centeol 2018, un projet de robot à grande échelle