Autonomous driving, a reality on today’s farms 

Sitia-Trektor-Autonomous-Robot-Weeder
Image credit: Sitia

On a French vineyard in the Loire valley, a tractor is driving between the grape vines, but there is no one behind the wheel. Meet TREKTOR, the autonomous hybrid robot that works tirelessly to weed the organic vineyard producing some of the finest Gamay wine called Anjou Gamay Village.  

After a month of working the land, TREKTOR’s developers, a company called Sitia, reviewed the quality of the work of their autonomous robot. They counted the grape vines which were damaged during operation and approached the farmer to reconcile the liability: 2 grape vines damaged in one month of operation. Sitia was surprised to hear from the farmer: “When I use my manual tractor to get the same job done, I’d be damaging at least two vines a day! How did your tractor manage to be so careful?” Sitia’s developers thought for a while and then responded: “It’s thanks to the high quality and accuracy of the components that are inside”. 

Even despite the strong magnetic field emitted by the generator on the TREKTOR, the AsteRx SB ProDirect receiver did not have any issues. The spectrum analyzer in its web interface showed other small radio interferences aboard the robot, but everything was still working fine.

Clément Aubry-Tardif
R&D Manager, Sitia
Watch this video to see the TREKTOR in action on the French grape farm.

Integrated into the TREKTOR is a dual antenna receiver AsteRx SB ProDirect, providing reliable high-accuracy positioning and heading needed for autonomous operation.  

Why did Sitia choose AsteRx SB ProDirect? 

Reliable positioning and heading 

  • Centimeter-level accuracy positioning with RTK reduces crop damage, increasing yields  

  • Reliable and accurate heading helps to point implements in the right direction. Unlike INS, GNSS heading is accurate and reliable even in static or slow-moving applications.   

Robust in challenging environments  

  • Resilient to radio interference with the built-in Advanced Interference Mitigation technology (AIM+

  • LOCK+ technology ensures robust satellite tracking even under intense vibrations or shocks 

Ease of use and excellent support 

  • Includes an intuitive web interface for fast prototyping and easy real-time testing  

  • Outstanding customer support and application engineering  

 

We aim for fast and efficient development process and that is why responsive customer support is important to us. Even for in-depth technical questions Septentrio support was quick to provide quality answers which allowed us to continue our work in a timely and efficient manner.

Clément Aubry-Tardif
R&D Manager, Sitia