While in modern agriculture increasingly powerful complex machines with advanced technology are used organic farming is characterized by multiple manual tasks. The project FRANC develops and builds an autonomous vehicle which can be used especially in organic farming. The vehicle is equipped with the necessary sensor technology and control hard- and software to autonomously drive in row crops. By steerable front and rear wheels a tight turning radius will be possible. A modular design of the vehicle allows easy and flexible adaptations for different applications and requirements. In order to ensure that the vehicle can be stopped immediately and brought to a save operation mode a safety concept is developed. Regarding the safety system, it is assumed that the vehicle does not operate unattended and that a remote controller allows to interference with the automatic system at any time.
Within this project, the school is introduced to an advanced technology in agricultural engineering. It is primarily intended to arouse students for the interest in robotics. The use of modern technologies (sensors, navigation, control technics , …) can be taught in a clear way with foundation in a real application. The trend in agricultural farming is towards diagnosis and treatment of individual plants. Thus a huge amount of research questions are far beyond the project’s goals. This project builds the basis for a future and long-term collaboration.
FRANC is funded by Sparkling Science, a programme of the Federal Ministry of Science and Research of Austria.