Robotics & Automation News

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AGCO taps mobility software experts Apex.AI for its robotic planting concept

Apex.AI, a company developing safety-certified software for mobility and autonomous applications, says that AGCO, a worldwide manufacturer and distributor of agricultural machinery and precision agriculture technology, is adding new capabilities to its Fendt Xaver concept vehicle, an autonomous farming robot, by incorporating Apex.OS, a software development kit (SDK).

Apex.AI has enabled AGCO’s engineering team to integrate several autonomous driving components into the Fendt Xaver in a tight timeframe, including lidar object detection, collision checking and planning, using the state-of-the-art framework and developer tools that come with Apex.OS.

This technical partnership expands an existing relationship between the two companies. In December 2021, AGCO announced a strategic investment in Apex.AI.

Christian Kelber, director, engineering, AGCO, says: “Apex.OS is a foundational software framework and development kit for rapidly developing advanced autonomous capabilities.

“The technology has helped AGCO shorten R&D timelines of our smart agricultural solutions and for the future of highly automated robots. Coming from the automotive industry, Apex.AI enables us to implement safety-critical applications from autonomous driving that can be deployed across our range of solutions globally.”

The award-winning autonomous robot concept Fendt Xaver, developed by Fendt as part of a research project, plants seeds on farms 24 hours a day with centimeter precision thanks to the Apex.OS software. Fendt Xaver uses 90 percent less energy than conventional machines because of its lightweight electric design, which produces zero emissions.

AGCO has leveraged Apex.OS to develop a software stack for Xaver based on automotive industry standards, extending its real-time autonomous functions. A cloud-connected fleet of Fendt Xaver robots is controlled through an app and provides real-time data from each unit, including its location, status, and diagnostics.

Jan Becker, co-founder, and CEO, Apex.AI, says: “We are leveraging our success in the automotive and autonomous driving industry and applying it to areas that have similar functional safety needs such as agricultural, industrial, mining and construction.

“Apex.OS allows the software architecture to be modular, scalable and safe, enabling customers to transition their R&D projects to commercial-ready products in record time.”

There is an increasing trend of autonomy in agriculture, and designing and deploying a safe autonomous system is a complex and time-consuming task.

Apex.AI is helping its agriculture, automotive and industrial customers extract the complexity of software-defined vehicles and machines with Apex.OS, which achieved the highest level of automotive software safety ISO 26262 ASIL-D last year.

By bridging the gap between R&D and production quality solutions, customers using Apex.OS can overcome real-time and reliability software challenges at a record pace.

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