21 May 2024

Enhancing agricultural productivity

Fusion is a new multi-interface and multi-screen platform equipped with an AI accelerator to enable edge AI applications

TTControl, a joint venture company of HYDAC International and TTTech, says it will be announcing three product innovations to enhance agricultural productivity at Agritechnica 2023 in Hanover. A new multi-interface and multi-screen computing platform, a new family member of the Vision 3 display series as well as a new motorised ECU to control small brushed electric motors and linear actuators. 

The company says enhancing sustainable agricultural productivity is crucial to meet today’s challenges like climate change, population growth, and limited arable land. In the past, larger machines meant higher crop yields. Today, progress comes from automation, user-friendly interfaces, and precision farming. “Smart farming,” utilising AI and IoT, enables real-time management down to individual plants, revolutionising agriculture. These technologies also minimise environmental impact by reducing the use of herbicides, fertilisers, and fuel consumption, thus reducing the carbon footprint.

TTControl says it aids agricultural machine manufacturers in transitioning their machines to software-defined devices with its upcoming product, Fusion. This new computing unit is equipped with an AI accelerator that enables edge AI applications. These applications include precise spraying of either fertiliser or herbicide onto individual crop plants or weeds. For this purpose, cameras are mounted directly onto the spraying implement. Fusion then collects data while moving across the field. The platform processes the data and makes real-time decisions based on a neural network. This neural network can be trained with deep learning using a substantial dataset, which includes various plant species, developmental stages, and even different soil types.

“We are excited to announce the launch of our new ‘Fusion’ computing unit at the upcoming Agritechnica”, says Christiana Seethaler, Vice President Product Development at TTControl. “With its variety of communication, display and camera interfaces and its powerful embedded AI accelerator, it is the ideal product for realising advanced assistance systems and highly automated working functions.”

Software-defined machinery offers several advantages compared to its hardware-defined predecessors. Software updates and improvements can be easily installed via over-the-air updates. This allows a machine’s capabilities to be enhanced over time, keeping it up-to-date with the latest technological advancements. To make this possible, the Fusion computing unit can be connected to a radio device through its USB interface, allowing for WIFI, Bluetooth, and cellular connectivity.

The mobile communication interface, when combined with a cloud solution such as TTControl’s Cloud Service, facilitates the realisation of other common Telematics applications, such as fleet management and farm management. This not only enables over-the-air updates for the computing unit but also for electronic control units if needed.

Volution 144 is a robust and versatile electronic control unit that can be used as an independent power module with H-Bridge function to control small brushed electric motors as well as linear actuators up to 750 W. It is equipped with Infineon’s TriCoreAurixTC377 CPU, which is designed to fulfil the demanding performance requirements of off-highway and automotive safety applications. Protected by a compact, automotive-style housing it is suited for mobile and stationary applications in harsh environments.

Volution 144 can be used in situations where substantial forces are required to maintain tool positions or to overcome significant friction, whether it’s related to fluids or airflows. Possible use cases include the control of motors for electric power steering, stationary braking systems, and electric active stabilizer motors. For agricultural applications, motors for automatic hatch opening and closing as well as the implementation of tools and their fine tuning can be controlled with this new motorised ECU.

With Vision 307, TTControl says it has launched a new family of the existing Vision 3 series. This set of displays has been specifically designed for use in complex vehicle architectures and supports the operator with an improved user experience and data visualisation in handling complex machines. It also includes the larger Vision 312, a 12.1” display and Vision 305, an even smaller 5” display.

The new display features a robust 7” touchscreen with a built-in, high-end Vision 3 display controller and solid protection for use in off-highway vehicles. The capacitive multi-touch screen is optically bonded to ensure perfect sunlight readability, the housing is sealed, and the device can withstand extreme temperatures, as well as shocks and vibrations. Besides various communication interfaces, the display is ready for direct connection of up to four cameras and enables audio output via an integrated loudspeaker.

The new display will be fully compatible with its predecessor, Vision 312, using the same harness and allowing previously programmed applications to be carried over from the Vision 312 with only minor changes. This enables TTControl to offer its customers rapid scalability of their applications and gives them the flexibility to develop new product lines with a shorter time to market.

 

 

 

Company info: TTControl