The Russian company Cognitive Technologies held in Tatarstan for the first test of unmanned tractors with the machine vision system of its own design. Software and hardware plan in the future to set not only for tractors but also for other agricultural equipment — harvesters, seeders and so on.
Thanks to unmanned transport and systems of computer vision of the farm Russia will be able to significantly improve their profitability, because expensive equipment is used inefficiently. For example, the processor runs an average of six hours per day, and the rest of the time idle. Unmanned tractors and combines work in fields day and night, 24 hours a day. They could use the conditions of poor visibility, do not confuse the rain or fog, and even in the darkness of the unmanned tractor is able to effectively cut the grass or collect the potatoes as day.
Unmanned agricultural machinery in Russia, will promote a new agricultural holding, which creates Cognitive Technologies with the manufacturer of agricultural machinery "Rostselmash" and holding "Soyuz-agro" on the basis of the special economic zone "Innopolis".
In complete darkness for unmanned systems can be used, night vision camera, but the more effective is the use of lidar in conjunction with a pre-marked map of the territory inscribed in the navigation computer of the tractor. American colleagues recently conducted a test of the unmanned vehicle system of the vehicle in the dark and determined that the lidar with the Navigator drive the car in the dark much safer than driver person.
During an unmanned test of "Ford" on the ground in Arizona was made a 3D map of the area, and in the darkness of the lidar laser pulses (2.8 million pulses per second) paved the way, as if probing the road with the orientation of the 3D map.
Russian tractor and don't plan to equip lidar because it will greatly increase its value. At the moment, by estimations of developers, cost of hardware and software complex drone vision is not more than 15% of the cost of the tractor. For the Russian collective farms and farms it is perfectly acceptable markup. If you put on a tractor full of lidar, the cost of equipment will increase significantly.
Russian tractors will install software and hardware systems in computer vision, including stereo system of two cameras, which shoot video at Full HD resolution, ie 1920x1080 pixels.
Besides camera, the package of the Russian unmanned tractor includes navigation and inertial sensors GLONASS and GPS and computing unit (computer).
"Computer vision system allows high accuracy to detect threat objects and determine their dimensions and coordinates for the compilation of high-precision maps, — says Olga Uskova, President of Cognitive Technologies. — Thanks to the precise knowledge of the position of objects on the field many of them it becomes possible to remove before cleaning, when they can pose a real threat to the mechanical elements of agricultural machinery".Compilation of digital maps of fields and applied to the surrounding objects (pillars, rocks, and other artifacts) produced during the execution of pre-sowing operations, such as fertilizing and harrowing. The operation is in spring, when the acreage is not planted, so all the artifacts are well intersect a computer vision system. These digital maps of the tractor to navigate in summer and autumn, during harvest. He will try to go around objects that failed to be removed from the field in the spring.
The developers are confident that the sensors of the vehicle and a computer vision system able to detect even those obstacles that are not on the map. Stated that the system recognizes objects by size from 10-15 cm at a distance of 15-20 m. All the rest is not dangerous if the tractor is equipped with compulabel.
Test the tractor with the machine vision system Cognitive Technologies
Test of unmanned tractors will continue for about half a year. According to Olga Uskova, this is enough time to bring the machine vision system to the stage of industrial use and introduce it in commercial operation. Software and hardware systems will be sold to farms of Russia and countries near and far abroad.
Experimental developments in this area are not only in Russia. For example, recently the Minister of agriculture of Japan raised the issue of the transition to robotic machinery in agriculture in connection with the aging of the population, including farmers.
The average age of Japanese farmers is 67 years, two-thirds of those older than 65 years. In Russia the problem of aging yet because of low life expectancy, but over time it can appear.
Unmanned tractors ready to release a Japanese Corporation, Kubota.
The prototype of an Autonomous tractor Kubota lidar
Small unmanned tractors made in Belarus. Certainly the Russian machine vision system also can be installed on a popular Belarusian tractors produced by Minsk tractor plant.
In the imagination of Russian developers in the future, agriculture in Russia as follows: "the work of the entire smart farm equipment will control the minimum number of persons from the control center, from where it will monitor the operation of all machines. If necessary, he will be able to set the program and the operating time of tractors, and to be constantly at the console do not have", — says Olga Usova. In General, approximately as predicted by writer Nikolay Nosov, a sci-Fi book "dunno in the Sunny city".
Independent experts believe that fully automated future in agriculture until. Behind the wheel of the vehicle must be the person supervising the automation and is ready to assume control in the event of an emergency.
In the framework of the joint project at the Department "Cognitive technologies" at MIPT in 2014 developed a robot vehicle that is "in real time processes the video stream, recognizes the surrounding scene, detects objects and generates control action aimed at solving the problem". The robot is set the task of chasing a red ball and push it with a bumper.
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