Apex.AI tapped to implement its autonomous tech into swarms of electric farming robots

Yes, you read that correctly. Agricultural machinery manufacturer AGCO is continuing its technical partnership with Apex.AI in order to use its Apex.OS software development kit to add autonomous capabilities to its farming robot concept. The battery-powered Xaver farming robots were developed by AGCO brand Fendt and can autonomously plant seeds on farms 24 hours a day.

Apex.AI is a scalable software developer based in Palo Alto, California, whose Apex.OS software development kit (SDK) aids OEMs in implementing complex, integrated AI software as well as autonomous mobility applications.

We first covered the company when it partnered with Toyota’s Woven Planet in April of 2021, allowing the latter to use Apex.OS for safety-critical automotive applications. In late 2021, Apex.Ai announced $56.5 million in Series B funding, led by a number of investors such as Toyota Ventures, Volvo Group Venture Capital, and Jaguar Land Rover’s InMotion Ventures.

One of those additional investors was AGCO, who made a 2.53% equity investment at the time. Following news early today, AGCO is expanding its relationship with Apex.AI to develop advanced autonomous capabilities for electric farming robots under its Fendt sub-brand.

farming robots
Renderings and details of Fendt’s Xaver farming robots / Source: Fendt

Swarms of autonomous farming robots powered by Apex.OS

As they say in Iowa, “America needs farmers.” But what farmers may actually need are precise, autonomous farming robots that leave zero-emissions and can continue working long after the sun has gone down.

In a press release today, Apex.AI announced that AGCO has expanded its relationship with the software developer in order to utilize its technology to integrate autonomous driving components into its Fendt Xaver farming robot concept. This includes LiDAR object detection, collision checking, and planning.

According to the release, AGCO has already leveraged Apex.OS to develop a specific software stack for Xaver, based on automotive-industry standards, that has helped extend its autonomous functions.

Thanks to Apex.AI’s SDK, the cloud-connected swarm of Fendt Xaver farming robots can be controlled through an app while providing real-time data from each unit. This includes data like each robot’s location, status, and other diagnostics. AGCO director of engineering Christian Kelber spoke to the technology:

Apex.OS is a foundational software framework and development kit for rapidly developing advanced autonomous capabilities. The technology has helped AGCO shorten R&D timelines of our smart agricultural solutions and for the future of highly automated robots. Coming from the automotive industry, Apex.AI enables us to implement safety-critical applications from autonomous driving that can be deployed across our range of solutions globally.

With the help of Apex.OS, The Fendt Xaver autonomous robot farming concept can plants seeds on farms 24/7 with centimeter precision – all while using 90% less energy than conventional machines and with zero emissions. Apex.AI co-founder and CEO Jan Becker spoke to the company’s expansion beyond the automotive realm and what it could mean for future autonomous applications:

We are leveraging our success in the automotive and autonomous driving industry and applying it to areas that have similar functional safety needs such as agricultural, industrial, mining and construction. Apex.OS allows the software architecture to be modular, scalable and safe, enabling customers to transition their R&D projects to commercial-ready products in record time.

Fleets of tiny, autonomous, electric farming robots – perhaps this is a glimpse into our agricultural future. We recommend checking the Fendt Xaver website to see how this holistic system of farming robots works. It’s pretty cool stuff!

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Scooter Doll is a writer, designer and tech enthusiast born in Chicago and based on the West Coast. When he’s not offering the latest tech how tos or insights, he’s probably watching Chicago sports.
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