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AGCbox is the only off-the-shelf solution designed for machine and tractor manufacturers who aim to fully automate their off-road vehicles. This positioning and guiding device includes a Safencing function enabling machines to operate legally in Europe without requiring human supervision.

What is the most striking detail of your solution? GNSS RTK/Safencing

This is the first GNSS-RTK solution that guarantees the machine will remain in its working area. Agreenculture does not make retrofit kits for private individuals, but rather is designed to be integrated alongside the design of the machine. The aim is to integrate the necessary safety components to ensure that the machine operates completely autonomously without local human supervision.

How does the tractor with your autonomous retrofit kit navigate and plan its work and paths?

Machines automated with our AGCbox system are guided by our secure positioning and guidance system, using RTK-GNSS technology, with centimetre-level accuracy. The first step is to carry out a survey, which maps out the first row, obstacles and the certified safety contour (which ensures that the machine and its implement do not leave the working area).

The user can then generate his mission by showing the machine used and the tool attached or towed. The mission is then simulated and validated before being sent to the machine’s AGCbox. A radio remote control allows the machine to be moved in manual mode and to switch to autonomous mode in complete safety. The machine can then be launched with the mission management application.

The machine then follows the mission orders from one row to the next. It can calculate its own U-turns according to the space it has to turn, its tool and the Safencing constraints. The turns are adjusted in real time by the machine.

How are implements operated and controlled by your system?

We work directly with machine manufacturers, which gives us full control over the implementation and management of the machine and its tool. We can control the tool by communicating through a dedicated technological brick. We adapt our approach to the customer’s specific requirements, to ensure optimum system performance. We are also able to offer a remote machine control service. So you can take control of your machine quickly and safely.

What safety features do you offer?

To ensure that the machine does not leave its working area, we have developed a plug & play safety component called Safencing, which is a virtual safety barrier certified by an external certification body, and ensures that the machine remains within its working area.

We also have off-the-shelf safety computers that can be integrated into the machine to manage the entire tool, as well as the machine, sensors, bumpers, LiDAR, emergency stop buttons, buzzer, etc. to enable detection, but also to stop the machine if necessary. If the machine stops, an SMS is sent to the user with the error code, emergency stop triggered, front bumper activated, etc.

It is also possible to add the camera option, which allows visual monitoring of the tool’s work, or to carry out a check to understand why the machine has stopped.

What kind of (farm) work can your system do autonomously?

Our system can make any off-road machine autonomous. We’ve worked on a range of tools, from soil preparation and seeding to mechanical weeding, fertilisation and localised spraying.

Can you switch off autonomous mode and continue as a manned tractor for difficult work/circumstances and road transport?

In fact, it is possible to use manual mode to go out on the road with one person inside the cab. The autonomous mode can be remotely deactivated.

We are currently working on the possibility of controlling robots remotely using teleoperation. This feature will allow you to manipulate your robot remotely to unblock it when it finds itself in a complex situation, while keeping our safety system active to ensure maximum safety during manipulation. This is made possible by the presence of several cameras covering all angles of the robot, ensuring an overview and optimum handling conditions.

How many units do you currently have in the field and where?

We currently have 280 AGCbox in use worldwide.

We have equipped various machine manufacturers, such as Karl from Kuhn, RX-20 from Pellenc and Kfast from Fede and Kubota, with stand-alone solutions. And we have also worked with other manufacturers.

What is the (estimated) cost price per ha compared to the costs of a manned tractor?

For mechanical weed control in vineyards, the use of a stand-alone machine saves up to €20,000 per hectare. Of course, this will depend on the machines, the farms, the types of crops and the work required.

Company name and nationalityAgreenculture (France)
Company or product websiteAgreenculture – www.agreenculture.fr
Product nameAGCbox
Suitable brands and tractor/vehicle modelsOff-road machines
Technical requirements for tractor/vehicleAutomatic gearbox
Is the solution Isobus compatible? (yes or no)No
Possible minimum and maximum driving speeds
in autonomous mode
2 km/h (1.24 mph)
6 km/h (3.72 mph)
Main components autonomous retrofit kitAGCbox: navigation, smart antenna, ground reference station, surveying
Operator or driver nearby required (yes or no)No
Price (in €/US$)Only for the Safencing kit, €30,000
Countries the product is for sale/rent in 2024Europe

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