In conjunction with FIRA Open Day, Easton Robotics announced the continued development of ermmi, the family of robotic products for small farms. Two innovative features of this patent-pending system for small farm robotics announced at the FIRA Open Day event are:
- The movable battery contained within the robot, adjusting the balance of the vehicle for real-time response to the weight of attachments and changing field conditions.
- An adjustable wheelbase designed to accommodate traversing different row widths.
The movable battery container leverages the weight of the batteries to maintain balance in the field during operations and taking advantage of the small size of the vehicle. Although the weight of the ermmi vehicle is light, owing to its aluminum frame, the vehicle is designed to accommodate heavy front-loaded weights of heavy attachments by dynamically adjusting the battery contained within the body of the vehicle, moving it forward, and backward within the vehicle in order to maintain stability. In real field conditions where an implement can create drag on the vehicle as it moves through a field, the vehicle can adjust in real-time so that the vehicle maintains a level operation.
The adjustable wheelbase allows the robotic vehicle to move while straddling rows of planted crops of varying widths. Row widths are commonly set based on the type of crop, making a fixed dimension a constraint for most robots. In contrast, ermmi can accommodate different field conditions and therefore is suitable for a wide variety of crops and fields.
Designed as a robot to carry out specific tasks commonly found in small farm operations, the company intends the robot to appeal to small farm operators. It will carry a price point well below those of robots made for large farms. In designing the robot, simplicity of operation and control were key elements.
Jeff Chandler, CEO of Easton Robotics stated,
“Our goal is to offer farm operators a product family that works for real farms, not just huge fields of pristine crops in wide rows. Smaller farm operators practicing no-till farming, with crops in densely planted rows, and working in parcels under twenty acres cannot use what I see being designed at the top end of the market. Our goal is to offer solutions to the rest of the farmers in the world.”
By combining the base autonomous ground vehicle with task-specific arms and implements, the ermmi (patent pending) system will address farm operators’ needs in a flexible and affordable way.