Following 18 months of research work with a German university, Fendt is ready to take the MARS (Mobile Agricultural Robot Swarms) project to the production stage. The latest version of the robot, which has been re-named as Xaver (traditionally popular in Bavaria and the name of one of the Fendt founders in the 1930s), will be on display at Agritechnica.

The system relies on small battery-operated and electrically-powered robots. Fendt reckons 6-12 units are capable of accurately planting around 1ha of maize an hour. Each robot is in constant communication with the controller, and should one of them fail, then the remaining machines take over. Fendt says the robots use 70% less energy to do the same work as a conventional tractor, and the ground pressure of each of the 50kg heavy vehicles is just 200g/cm². Promising enquiries have already been received from Africa, Australia, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands and the UK.