Lero partners with Abbey Machinery to develop autonomous farm equipment
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The technological advancement of Irish-made autonomous farm machinery is being enhanced by researchers at Lero, the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Software and Abbey Machinery, under a new research partnership agreement.
Lero researcher, professor Joseph Walsh, based at the Munster Technological University’s Kerry campus, is leading the partnership with Abbey Machinery.
Prof. Walsh points out that with global food production required to increase by close to 70% to feed a growing population, the agricultural industry has to become more innovative by using technology to add value to our food supply chains.
“The farmers leading the way in adopting the new technologies will ultimately accelerate the movement that transforms the global agri-food system into one which will efficiently feed nine billion people by 2050,” he added.
Prof. Walsh said the partnership with Abbey would leverage MTU’s industry-leading innovative AgriTech research in IoT, AI and Manufacturing to develop the next generation of intelligent, connected tankers and feeders.
“These machines will be designed to allow remote operation and monitoring by employing state-of-the-art technologies and techniques in sensor networks, communications, and data analytics,” he added.
Abbey Machinery MD Clodagh Kavanagh said that as an export-orientated company with 60% of sales coming from overseas, the goal of Abbey Machinery is to research and develop the next generation of smart, connected, and automated generation of tankers and feeders.
“These machines will be designed to allow remote operation and monitoring by employing state-of-the-art technologies and techniques in the fields of telematics, sensor networks and communications, and data analytics to meet the needs of our customers in Ireland, Britain, France, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Australia, New Zealand and Iceland,” she added.
Ms Kavanagh said the research has two strands: Next-generation smart electronic architecture for agriculture machinery and software systems for telematics monitoring and remote operation.
Prof. Walsh said the necessary deliverables for Abbey Machinery will be a prototype of the full-stack software platform that monitors the telematics, automates service reminders, and remote operations that have the potential to lead to the development of new products and services for Abbey Machinery.
MTU President Professor Maggie Cusack said: “MTU and Abbey Machinery have an established educational and research partnership spanning a number of years. This project marks the extension of this partnership, and we look forward to the positive impact this R&D project will have both nationally and internationally.”