Russia Claims First AI Powered Robot Harvesters for Sale

Russia is claiming the first standard production artificial intelligence powered combine harvesters will come to market this month.

Autonomous driving technology specialist, Cognitive Pilot, and Bryanskselmash, agricultural equipment manufacturer, have agreed fit automated drive technology to series produced harvesters rolling off the production line from the end of April 2021. The partners plan to expand joint marketing and other activities that will increase the attractiveness of the solution and expand its geographical reach.

In another venture, Cognitive Pilot and Rosagroleasing, Russia’s largest state-owned agricultural leasing company, have announced first contracts for AI-based agricultural equipment. This will make equipment available to domestic agricultural enterprises, seeking to improve efficiency, including both medium-size and small-size enterprises.

Cognitive Pilot’s system includes an autonomous unit to manage farm equipment, a video camera, a display, a set of connecting cables, and other control system elements. The user interface is available via an Android mobile app for smartphones or tablets. The system claims to analyze images from just one video camera and, by using a deep learning convolutional neural network tuned for agronomic purposes, understands the types and positions of objects facing the machinery, builds movement trajectories and sends commands to perform maneuvers.

From June to October 2020, more than 350 New Holland, John Deere and Claas autonomous combines equipped with the system farmed more than 160,000 hectares of field and harvested more than 720,000 tons of crops. The company claims as many as 590,000 metric tons of grain crops (wheat, soybeans, barley, oats, sorghum, buckwheat, etc.) were harvested from more than 130,000 hectares; and some 130,000 metric tons of row crops and roll crops (corn, sunflower, etc.) were harvested from over 30,000 hectares in various regions across Russia. Its system claims to reduce the time of harvesting by an average of 25% and reduce direct crop losses from 8% to 13% with the daily output of the machine operator increasing by up to 25%.

Olga Uskova, CEO of Cognitive Pilot, said: “Bryanskselmash is a real trendsetter, one of Russia’s leading enterprises actively introducing innovative solutions into its products. From now on, the world’s first mass-produced agri robots, equipped Cognitive Pilot AI, will roll off the factory’s production line. This is a significant bid to expand company’s market share not only in Russia, but also abroad.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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