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Connecting the digital dots

Advanced autonomous solutions company, Agtonomy recently announced the launch of the first-of-its-kind smart farm task ecosystem that boosts efficiency and sustainability in the field by digitally and autonomously connecting self-driving tractors with farm tools and implements

Through Agtonomy's TeleFarmer teleguidance software and services app along with partnerships with leading equipment manufacturers including Thiessen Tillage Equipment, among others, the Smart Farm Task Ecosystem gives farmers the advanced computing and AI-software and the farm-tested hardware needed to remotely plan and autonomously execute daily field tasks in orchard, vineyard, berry and specialty crop production. 

The development of this ecosystem follows Agtonomy's partnership strategy aimed at rapidly scaling agricultural autonomy and robotic solutions for the greatest value to farmers. It was launched with four hardware solutions:

1. Smart Take-Off (STO): A plug connector that can be easily attached and provides power and data transfer between the tractor and tool implement attachments, replacing the industry-standard purely mechanical power take-off (PTO). STOs are generally considered safer, more energy efficient and easier to use when compared to PTOs. 

2. Smart Toolbar: A generic, sensor-enabled intelligent toolbar that can capture and communicate information between the tractor and tools, enabling real-time response in a three-dimensional performance, such as automatically adjusting tool heights and widths to accommodate for plant spacing and terrain fluctuations.

3. Smart Implement Sensors (SIS): Sensors placed on tools that collect data and communicate with the tractor's autonomous navigation system to modulate its speed, power or other metrics. SIS can either be placed directly on existing implements or on the tractor itself.

4. Smart Sprayers: Spray nozzles that communicate with data sources, adjusting application rates to spot needs, allowing the ability to reduce or increase spray rates as the tractor moves based on computer vision-collected data such as canopy density, weed pressure or disease hotspots.

The company has planned to demonstrate this new ecosystem technology through farmer pilot programmes, on-farm events and at upcoming trade shows, including the World Ag Expo.

"Working with Agtonomy means equipment manufacturers like us can leverage their advanced computer science, engineering and robotic systems with the trusted brand and proven design of our farm tillage product line for solutions that are exponentially better than either of us could provide alone," said Ryan Thiessen, owner and operator of Thiessen Tillage Equipment headquartered in Canada.

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