Agriculture firms, Krone and Lemken, have entered into a collaboration with Apex.AI, a company that specializes in safety-certified software for autonomous applications. The partnership is focused on advancing the ‘Combined Powers’ project, an autonomous farming system prototype.
With the support of Apex.AI’s development environment, Krone and Lemken intend to transition their prototype functions to products that meet safety certifications. Both companies plan to integrate Apex.Grace and Apex.Ida, components of Apex.AI’s Software Development Kit (SDK), in their ongoing developments.
The ‘Combined Powers’ concept vehicle, previously developed by Krone and Lemken, is designed as an autonomous system capable of tasks such as plowing, cultivating, sowing, mowing, turning, and swathing. This initiative will transition the concept from a prototype stage to series production with the assistance of Apex.AI’s SDK.
With a recognized labor shortage in the agriculture sector, there is a push towards greater automation and digitization. The ‘Combined Powers’ vehicle is aimed at addressing this gap, providing autonomous solutions that maintain precision in fieldwork.
The software underpinning the ‘Combined Powers’ system is based on the Robot Operating System (ROS). Apex.AI’s products, which are similarly grounded in ROS, have received certification from TÜV Nord, making them suitable for commercial vehicular applications. This synergy allows data from the prototypes to be directly utilized in serial development, positioning Apex.AI’s software as a key component in the evolution of ‘Combined Powers’ products.
Jan Becker, CEO of Apex.AI, stated that the partnership aligns with the company’s vision of establishing foundational software for autonomous systems. Apex.AI seeks to assist Krone and Lemken teams in understanding the capabilities of their products and methods.
From Krone, developer Manuel Volk expressed that the collaboration with Apex.AI allows a smoother transition from ROS-based development solutions to series solutions supported by Apex.Grace. Additionally, Michael Nienhaus from Lemken highlighted that working with Apex.AI can simplify the development process and reduce system complexities.
Apex.AI, a US-based firm with connections to Germany, has expertise in developing operating systems for autonomous vehicles. Their solutions, encompassing both robotics and artificial intelligence, have been adopted by several stakeholders in the agricultural and automotive sectors, including AGCO, MOIA, and Toyota. The company’s iterative software development kit (SDK) aims to streamline the software development process for its clients.