Apex.AI, Krone and Lemken to bring agricultural autonomous drive unit into series production

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Apex.AI, a developer of safety-certified software for mobility and autonomous applications, has given details of a project carried out in collaboration with Krone and Lemken to develop commercially ready autonomous farming systems.

The trio’s combined expertise resulted in the Combined Powers concept vehicle, developed by Krone and Lemken. This autonomous drive unit features a smart system to enable plowing, cultivating, sowing, mowing and other agricultural operations. The companies now aim to bring the concept carrier vehicle from the prototype stage to series production by using Apex.AI’s software development kit (SDK), consisting of Apex.Grace and Apex.Ida.

Claimed to be commercially ready, the Combined Powers vehicle has already proved itself within agricultural operations and can save farmers time while still carrying out a high level of work.

Key software functions of the autonomous drive unit’s architecture are based on the Robot Operating System (ROS). However, unlike ROS, Apex.AI’s products are certified by TÜV Nord for applications with special functional safety requirements and are therefore suitable for commercial vehicle use. As a result, data obtained from the prototypes can be used directly in series development.

“Apex.AI is establishing an operating software for the autonomous age. The partnership with Krone and Lemken is a win-win for all parties. Our development environment, consisting of Apex.Grace and Apex.Ida, is the perfect basis for the applications of Krone’s and Lemken’s carrier vehicles,” commented Jan Becker, CEO of Apex.AI. “We are now working closely with both companies on a first project to familiarize the teams from the agricultural technology manufacturers with the suitability for series production and the possibilities of the Apex.AI products and methods. We will also evaluate our software as the framework and middleware solutions as part of the implementation phase of the VTE concept.”

“In working with Apex.AI, we see the opportunity to move from a development solution based on ROS and ROS 2 to a series solution based on Apex.Grace, and being able to implement secure functions,” added Manuel Volk, a developer at Krone. “I also expect a faster learning curve in the company, since many developers are familiar with the concepts and tools of the Apex.AI SDK from their previous work with ROS and ROS 2.”

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After spending six years working as a mechanic for various motorsport and high-end performance car companies, Callum joined UKi Media & Events in February 2020 as an assistant editor. In this role he uses his vast practical knowledge and passion for automotive to produce informative news pieces for multiple vehicle-related sectors. Currently, he is responsible for content across UKi Media & Events' portfolio of websites while also writing for the company's print titles.

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