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Cognitive Pilot calibration tool for unmanned agricultural machinery

Russia’s Cognitive Pilot introduces calibration tool for unmanned agricultural machinery  

The Russian developer of AI-based solutions for agricultural vehicles, Cognitive Pilot, has launched the Cognitive Smart Calibration tool, called to facilitate the transition from pilot series to industrial application of its Cognitive Agro Pilot autonomous steering system.

Until now, there has been no industrial solution similar in functionality on the global market of smart agricultural machinery, the company stressed in a statement.

Anton Yemelyanov, managing partner and CTO of Cognitive Pilot, commented that there were multiple reasons for developing the new product, including “a rapid growth in sales in the Cognitive Agro Pilot autonomous steering systems, the expansion of the product range with the inclusion of versions for new models of agricultural machinery, the rise in the number of Russian regions employing the [Cognitive Agro Pilot] system, and the establishment of the foreign network of representative offices.”

“We are building a new sales scheme, which provides for the possibility of self-installation, launch, and maintenance of Cognitive Agro Pilot by the customer, without any participation of our representatives, dealers, etc. Our goal is to make this work as simple and accessible as possible,” Yemelyanov explained.

Cognitive Pilot earlier revealed plans to equip at least 100,000 Russian combines with the Cognitive Agro Pilot system in the next few years and put a lot of effort into promoting its product on the global market, launching sales on several new foreign markets, including the U.S. and South America by the end of 2021.

Robotized sensor adjustments

Cognitive Pilot explained that one of the main points of commissioning any wheeled robot is associated with adjusting the basic parameters of sensors –a process commonly known as calibration, which consists of a set of works aimed at setting their orientation in space so that the data would enter the system correctly.

“This requires certain skills, qualifications of personnel, and the implementation of a certain set of adjustment operations in the required sequence,” the company said, adding due to the difficulties of the process until recently, specially qualified Cognitive Pilot engineers performed these tasks.

The Cognitive Smart Calibration technology, based on continuous monitoring and analysis of the flow of data from video cameras, odometry sensors, and other sensors, allows users to automatically determine the current accuracy of their calibration and, when it begins to exceed the threshold, automatically recalculate the settings as they would have been during accurate calibration. After that, also automatically, invisibly for the user, the settings of the robot control system are updated, where the parameters of the sensor calibration data are set accurately.

“We have simplified the process of setting up the Cognitive Agro Pilot so that the owner of the equipment or any of his engineers or technician can do it on their own within half an hour. All installation and configuration is carried out by pressing two keys. This is roughly how a car enthusiast changes summer tires to winter tires in the garage, ” Yemelyanov said.

Cognitive Pilot estimated that the new tool would cut the cost of autonomous control of combines and tractors by 10-15%, while maintenance and downtime by 15-20%.

In addition to the initial calibration of the sensors performed at the start-up stage of the Cognitive Agro Pilot autopilot, Cognitive Smart Calibration technology also allows user to robotize the process of setting control parameters during the operation stage of the system, since during operation, these parameters can change due to vibration, temperature change, sensor collision with any objects, for example, tree branches and other reasons.

The technology also allows users to optimize various parameters of the robot control system, taking into account the accumulation of useful statistics during its operation, the company said.

Technology is much needed

Olga Uskova, CEO of Cognitive Pilot, commented that the robotization of these processes was a key condition for achieving strong sales results.

In addition, the pre-industrial tests of Cognitive Smart Calibration have shown that the accuracy of sensor calibration in robotic mode increases on average by a factor of 1.5-2 times.  It is now planned that the installation of Cognitive Smart Calibration technology on smart tractors and combines will begin in 2022.

Cognitive Pilot also said that the global market of calibration tools for unmanned agricultural machinery is only being formed now, but its prospects already look bright, with sales are set for explosive growths in the coming years. By 2025, the global market is expected to reach $14.4 billion, the company said, citing a research conducted by the international market research company Technavio.

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