Positioning and perception development kits from NovAtel and AutonomouStuff accelerate autonomous applications in the field, targeting off-road developments. A new autonomous tractor showcases the viability of these kits to facilitate autonomous development. With decades of expertise in GNSS positioning, autonomy and safety-critical applications, the Hexagon brands NovAtel and AutonomouStuff created these solutions with agriculture machinery OEMs and robotic machinery manufacturers in mind. However, they can also be integrated into other off-road autonomy applications.
As a demonstrator vehicle for Smart Autonomous Mobility, the autonomous tractor features object detection and classification, simultaneous relative localization and mapping, absolute positioning through GNSS technology, and localization sensor fusing. Built to illustrate the viability of new positioning and sensing kits, the tractor incorporates safety-critical learnings with situational and environmental awareness, and manual remote control when needed. This platform validates how these solutions and capabilities accelerate autonomous development.
The positioning and sensing kits are optimized for autonomous agriculture applications, including products like the SMART7 antenna and autonomous robotic capabilities through the NovAtel OEM7 driver powered by the Robot Operating System (ROSTM). The kits also feature TerraStar GNSS Correction Services, ALIGN heading and relative positioning firmware, and SPAN GNSS+INS technology.
• The Vision Application Starter Kit facilitates easier methods for developing object classification libraries, allowing the platform to quickly detect and identify nearby objects and obstructions.
• The Point-Cloud Application Starter Kit, which includes a compute platform, GNSS, LiDAR and radar technologies, enables simultaneous location and mapping (SLAM), obstacle detection and object classification in any platform or solution.
• The Accelerating Autonomous Application Starter Kit combines the capabilities and sensing technologies of the Point-Cloud Application Starter Kit and the Vision Application Starter Kit.
• The Remote-Controller development kit enables both remote and automated systems to be safely operated with a medium- to long-range wireless controller.
NovAtel and AutonomouStuff also provide consultation on platform development.
“These positioning and sensing kits provide developers with technology bringing assured positioning to autonomy in agriculture,” explained Michael Martinez, agriculture segment manager at Hexagon | NovAtel. “Robotic-machinery manufacturers or those experienced in autonomy may be unfamiliar with the unique challenges facing agriculture applications. Conversely, those experienced with agriculture may not have the expertise to integrate positioning and sensing products within autonomous solutions. We can help in both cases through these positioning and sensor kits, as demonstrated by our autonomous tractor.”
“We’re excited to use this tractor as a platform to validate the human identification, obstacle detection and enhanced environmental awareness that our sensing kits add to our assured positioning solutions in agriculture,” said John Buszek, VP of products and services at Hexagon | AutonomouStuff. “The sensing and positioning technologies we’ve integrated on this demonstration platform showcase the Smart Autonomous Mobility portfolio, which enables and accelerates the development of autonomy in agriculture applications from prototyping to production.”
Learn more about their agriculture autonomy capabilities by taking a virtual tractor tour via Hexagon’s 3D interactive app for the autonomous tractor.