Revolutionizing the Agricultural Sector
Agriculture is often dismissed as a traditional line of work. Although, it is agriculture, in particular, where trends such as digitalization, sustainability, and connectivity offer great potential, especially when we think about the increasingly relevant topic of precision farming.
For this reason, the technology company Continental is furthering its agricultural operations, providing new solutions to revolutionize the agricultural sector. A best practice example that underlines this approach is Continental’s white-label solution contadino, that not only impresses with its comparatively lightweight and compact product design but also with its ability to drive fully electric and fully autonomous.
Till now, agriculture has been a highly manual business, but due to ongoing structural changes, the agricultural sector requires new technologies. Whereas the demand for more food and food of higher quality continues to rise around the world, farmers are increasingly confronted with a shortage of skilled labor, volatile weather, and more extreme events like floods and droughts that limit the availability of water, allow weeds, pests and fungi to thrive, and endanger the crops’ productivity.
This development puts farmers under high pressure which often results in unsustainable farming where fields are cultivated repeatedly without respecting fallow periods. Hereby, also the machinery in use plays an influential role. The oftentimes heavy weight of the machinery fosters soil compaction, which poses another serious problem for sustainable crop cultivation. Through compression, the soil cannot breathe, and the water cannot penetrate the soil. This results in declining soil quality and, thus, lower yields.
To overcome those challenges Continental has been working on a smart and sustainable swarm concept that assists our customers in working more efficiently, comfortably, and safely. Hereby, our experts build on our expertise from other areas and adapt it to the respective situation. Our modular agricultural implement carrier contadino is a great example of this. We have leveraged our knowledge from automotive applications and adapted features like sensor- and camera-based systems for the specific used case. The result is a smart white-label solution that has the potential to revolutionize the agricultural sector, especially when we think about precision farming.
Due to the modular and compact design, contadino allows for maximum flexibility regarding implement type and track width and enables quick and easy maintenance. The robot is versatile in its application and works both fully electric and autonomously. That is made possible thanks to the attached lidar scanner, radar, RTK GPS, camera and ultrasound which allows contadino to detect obstacles and track their position with a GNSS accuracy of three centimeters. The robot is also much more resource-efficient concerning energy consumption and soil compaction than other machines and can operate around the clock due to its automatic recharging function. But what’s best about it: Contadino can be used for fleet operations and does not require human surveillance. That means several robots can communicate with each other to organize their processes, such as seeding, weeding, spraying, fertilizing and monitoring adequately. For these different purposes, the robot can be equipped with different implements. Through the interfaces, the robot vehicle fleet can also be easily integrated into existing tools. This way, the swarm concept guarantees farmers an efficient workflow and enables them to focus on the overall farm management and optimization of processes and tasks independently from their location.
As already said before, contadino is a model example of Continental’s approach of transferring its knowledge from one field of application to another one. That becomes particularly clear when we have a look at Continental’s robot vehicles in general. Because contadino is not the only robot vehicle our experts have been working on. There is also the delivery robot Corriere, which is mainly used for transporting groceries in urban areas, or our autonomous intralogistics robot, which transports goods in warehouses. These developments prove that Continental is well-equipped for the future of mobility and eager to shape it.
Nonetheless, these innovations are not only a result of Continental’s extensive expertise but also the close cooperation with its partners from different industries. And that is what counts in the end.
"To meet the challenges of higher logistic volumes, implementing sustainable ideas for the transport and distribution of goods, and offering smart solutions that support resource-efficient food production in the agricultural sector, we need strong partnerships"
For this reason, we at Continental are always on the lookout for new partners to advance the development in this area. Do you want to become a part of making agriculture more efficient, sustainable, and safer? Then contact us. Let’s together create robot vehicles for the mobility of tomorrow.
Head of Business Development Continental Off-Highway
Phone: +49 511 93851506
Shape the mobility of tomorrow with us.