Hexagon launches autonomy kit in R&D tractor

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Sensor company Hexagon has launched its first autonomy and positioning kit optimised for the agriculture market, in the form of a research and development tractor.

Developed in collaboration with NovAtel and AutonomousStuff, both part of Hexagon, the kit was conceived with agriculture machinery OEMs and robotic machinery manufacturers in mind.

The demonstrator vehicle, created for its Smart Autonomous Mobility solutions portfolio, features object detection and classification, simultaneous relative localisation and mapping, absolute positioning through GNSS technology and localisation sensor fusing.

Michael Martinez, agriculture segment manager at Hexagon NovAtel, said: “These positioning and sensing kits provide developers with technology bringing assured positioning to autonomy in agriculture.

“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.”

Optimised for autonomous agriculture applications, the positioning and sensing kit includes SMART7 antenna and autonomous robotic capabilities through NovAtel’s OEM7 driver powered by the company’s Robot Operating System.

The kit also features TerraStar GNSS Correction Services, ALIGN heading and relative positioning firmware, and SPAN GNSS+INS technology

Incorporating safety-critical learnings with situational and environmental awareness, as well as a manual remote control, the kit is also viable in other off-road autonomy applications.