The convergence of declining demographics, economic disparities, rising energy costs and supply chain disruptions in the West and the looming specter of climate change has created a perilous confluence of issues particularly impacting agriculture and public safety.
In the agricultural sector, farmers are experiencing growing difficulty finding seasonal farm workers while also having to deal with the escalating costs of cultivation, which results in marginal profits, unharvested crops, and even abandoned farms. To combat these hurdles, there is an urgent need for an affordable and efficient platform that bridges the gap between traditional tractors and handheld tools and multiplies an unskilled farm worker's productivity. This imperative solution is crucial for small-scale farmers in order to safeguard their existing agricultural capital.
Moreover, the repercussions of climate change have increased the likelihood of wildfires. As fire departments confront more frequent fires, the necessity for an affordable vehicle that can serve in an integrated role with firefighting units in rural areas to reduce workloads and provide standoff safety from heat exposure is critical. A production line for firefighting robots could prove a real business challenge because of low utilization of the vehicles (typically under 100 hours/year), and a number of fire fighting departments have resorted to DIY solutions.
Existing vehicles on the market that can serve as adaptable platforms for various tasks are either prohibitively expensive or just not available. So it is essential to offer the ability of manufacturing a low-cost base vehicle within local machine shops, in single units or small volumes, that has a small footprint, is energy dense and agile and holds the potential to tackle localized challenges in agriculture and public safety sectors. The proposed, prototyped and open-sourced robotic vehicle system attempts to address those needs through the variety of applications in those fields in the lowest possible cost and could be utilized and manufactured by individual farmers, agricultural cooperatives, fire departments, municipalities, and beyond.
The pitch deck
Check our milestones
A very early prototype vehicle was compiled using copper pipes, a car battery, an Arduino mega, a Jetson nano and stepper motors, to glimpse on the idea and sizes.
The choice of copper is quickly abandoned in place of iron. The robot's frame is fabricated in QOOP metalworks.
Successful initial tests in combining a low cost plasma cutter and a CNC, to cut custom metal sheets for rapid prototyping.
8 LifePo 300 amp batteries received
An autonomous return to home functionality is developed uppon a small RC car, extending it with a gps, a 9 degree of freedom sensor, an arduino mega, data logging and telemetry.
The stepper motors combined with 1:10 reducers didn't lead to sufficient torque/speed ratio to steer or move the vehicle. Different solutions are researched.
Four 38NM motor hubs are received along with their controllers
Forks appropriate for the in-wheel motor hubs are fabricated using the plasma cutter
Numerous pieces were cut using the plasma cutter completing the body of the robot.
All components are assembled, connected and programmed while the fabrication process is documented and the bill of materials compiled.
The Agrofelis robot, is within the top 10 Finalists of the Save the World Wildcard category of the 2023 worldwide Hackaday Prize competition.
Agrofelis participates in a entrepreneurs festival along with other promising start ups. GRBossible “Think Big”
Agrofelis was ranked 1st in the innovation category, for its Precision Agriculture systems !