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Radar Sensor for Agricultural Automation

The opportunity to trial a cost-effective, single-sensor solution for agricultural automation to increase the efficiency and safety of your operations. Able to operate in all weather and light conditions, including rain, fog, dust, dirt, and complete darkness.

The challenge

Manual operation of farming machinery can be expensive, and productivity is often reduced in adverse conditions. The use of large machinery also poses safety risks to people, along with the possibility of costly collisions and the associated downtime that incurs. Typical automation sensors that are used to help increase productivity and safety are often affected by bad weather, light conditions, and loss of visibility due to the agricultural environment, such as heavy dust, leading to significant downtime.

Navtech Radar’s sensors are a reliable addition to agricultural machinery for automation. Our sensors are easily integrated with existing equipment, providing reliable data for navigation, anti-collision, and process monitoring, in all weather and environmental conditions. We are currently developing a miniaturised version of our market-proven CIR sensor, which has a faster update rate, smaller form factor and will be cost-effective for agricultural applications. The smaller prototype sensor is called the RAS3 sensor.

How will it work?

A single sensor, mounted on each vehicle, can be easily integrated into any automation control system using our Robot Operating System (ROS) implementation. Working beyond the limits of a person’s capability, our sensors can see when humans can’t, adding an extra layer of safety to challenging environments. They are capable of operation 24/7, in all weather and lighting conditions, from bright sunlight to complete darkness.

The sensor provides a rich data output that can be used by your system to deliver operation monitoring, navigation and anti-collision capabilities, specifically localisation, perception, anti-collision, and obstacle detection.

What do these capabilities all mean for the automation of agricultural machinery?

  • Localisation answers the question for autonomous vehicles: Where am I?
  • Perception answers the question: What is around me?
  • Anti-collision tells your vehicle: What is around me and if I don’t want to hit it, what’s the action I take?
  • Obstacle detection tells your vehicle when there is a person or vehicle close to it

These are all capabilities we have deployed for industrial automation in environments such as mines and ports, using our CIR sensor, which will now become cost-effective for agricultural applications with the smaller RAS3 sensor.

  • Single sensor solution for agricultural automation
  • Increase efficiency and safety
  • Cost-effective implementation
Key features and performance

Expected technical performance

What performance can you expect from this new solution? Our world-leading sensors work in all environments, all the time delivering reliable performance in rain, fog, dust and dirt, when other sensors fail.

The high-resolution, 360° long-range radar builds a data-rich picture of its surroundings, whatever the conditions.  Capable of operating in all light conditions including complete darkness, it can be easily integrated into any system with our ROS code examples. With unrivalled availability, our sensors work in all weather conditions, so you can operate your site 24/7, safely and efficiently. Working beyond the limits of a person’s capability, they can see when humans can’t, adding an extra layer of safety to challenging environments.

  • 360° field of view and rapid refresh rate
  • High-resolution
  • Robust sensor
  • Easily integrated
  • Works in all weather and light conditions

Technical specifications

The latest RAS3 prototype available for trial has similar technical specifications as our world-leading CIR radar sensor, in a smaller size and a faster update rate suited to agricultural autonomous vehicle applications.

The smaller and shorter-range sensor within the Robust Automation Sensor (RAS) family has been designed for applications where space and weight are constraints, such as smaller unmanned or human-operated vehicles.

Trials to date

CEREMA Testing, June 2021

In order to test the performance of the RAS3 in adverse weather conditions, the prototype radar was sent to a specialised facility based in France. The Cerema PAVIN platform provides a controlled environment, ensuring measured and repeatable disruptive weather events such as rain and fog so performance can be monitored.

In our testing, radar targets and a test object (a car exhaust) were placed at varying distances from the RAS3 sensor, moving gradually out to the full test range of the chamber.

The chamber was filled with fog with a meteorological optical range of less than 10m, and the performance of the radar was not impacted at all – it successfully detected both the exhaust and radar targets throughout the fog testing. These tests were conducted as part of our involvement with the Award project, which aims to bring major innovations to the transport industry, fleet operators and the entire logistics sector.

“To explore the opportunity to improve the efficiency and safety of your operations using our cutting-edge and cost-effective technology, that will work reliably in all weathers and environmental conditions, please get in touch to discuss how our solution can meet your requirements.”
John Marshall
Automation Project Engineer
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