KARL robot moves nearer

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KARL robot, Kuhn Farm Machinery’s autonomous system aimed at arable crop production is taking a step nearer.

Although KARL isn’t ready for commercial production yet, the company believes a five-year timeframe is realistic as more field tests in real-world conditions take place over the next few years.

Edd Fanshawe, Kuhn’s product marketing specialist for arable and connected services said: “KARL is an autonomous solution dedicated to plant production which we are convinced offers many advantages. Field crop production is evolving significantly, with farmers aiming to lower soil compaction and reduce chemical inputs, while maintaining food supply. This focus will likely increase the number of operations, and agricultural robotics can help in a big way.”

It uses a hybrid diesel/electric power unit, with a 175hp Volvo engine running an electric generator. Electric power is used to power the tracks and implement, designed to provide smooth engagement, as well as enable incremental adjustments.

The implement has a level of intelligence to detect errors, blockages and breakdowns, sending an alert to the KARL robot. So far, a 2.5m HR 2520e has been tested for several hundred field hours, with this width of machine being easy to load and transport between fields.

“KARL shouldn’t be considered a replacement for the tractor, but a different concept entirely, with the potential to run a fleet of KARL autonomous tools to adapt to different farm sizes and labour restrictions faced by farmers across the world,” concluded Mr Fanshawe.

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