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Sensor technology to protect animals in the field

The Danish National Advanced Technology Foundation has invested in an industrial postdoc project at Aarhus University to explore and develop technologies to detect and recognize obstacles in the field.

[Translate to English:] Højteknologifonden har bevilliget en million kroner til oprettelse af et erhvervspostdoc-projekt på Aarhus Universitet, der skal udforske og udvikle teknologier, som kan forhindre påkørsel af dyr og genstande.

Roe deer fawns, nesting birds and larger stones can be some of the more troublesome obstacles that large agricultural machinery may collide with when the fields are ploughed, harrowed or harvested. But now there is a technological solution on the way to remedy this problem.


The Advanced Technology Foundation has granted one million Danish kroner to the creation of an industrial postdoc project at Aarhus University to explore and develop technologies that prevent collisions with animals or objects in the field.


- The overall objective of the project is to develop algorithms to detect and recognize obstacles. The system will form part of a sensor and decision support system that facilitates effective mechanical weed control while detecting and avoiding animals and other objects, explains PhD student Kim Arild Steen from the Department of Engineering, who will be in charge of the project.


The ambition is to improve the efficiency of the machines in the field, taking into account wildlife and surroundings and it must all be done while the machine is operating in the field.


In the project Kim Arild Steen will have special focus on sensor technologies to help identify the obstacles in the field. He sees an opportunity to develop algorithms that use both thermal and traditional camera technologies. The hope is that the combination of the two can lead to fewer collisions.


The project will be a teamwork between Aarhus University and Kongskilde Industries, an agricultural machinery manufacturer, who are investing heavily in technological solutions for mechanical weed control – an area which is expected to grow in the coming years as a result of the pressure to reduce the use of pesticides.


At Kongskilde Industries, there is excitement at the launch of a collaboration with Aarhus University.


- We believe it is necessary to develop new technological solutions that support an effective and future-oriented crop production where pesticide use is minimised and there is an ethical and animal-friendly approach to the interaction between intensive crop production and the natural environment, says Henrik Lynge Jacobsen.


The project partners expect the technology developed by the end of the project period in 2016 to be functional and marketable and ready to be mounted on existing agricultural machinery.


The industrial project, which has a total budget of two million Danish kroner, will be launched on 1 May 2014.


Further information: Industrial postdoc Kim Arild Steen, Department of Engineering, email: kim.steen@eng.au.dk, telephone: +45 3116 8628


Director of Strategic Development Ole Green, Kongskilde Industries A/S, 4180 Sorø, telephone: +45 5185 4406


Senior professor of engineering Henrik Karstoft, Department of Engineering, telephone: +45 4189 3270




The project title is "Multi-sensor system for ensuring an ethical and efficient crop production" and it has a total budget of two million Danish kroner. The Advanced Technology Foundation's share is one million Danish kroner. The project runs over two years.