16/10/2018 by Kvaser

CAN-Enabled Autonomous Agricultural Machinery at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln

modern combine harvester

We like to keep up-to-date on applications of CAN in the fields of autonomous vehicles and agricultural machinery, but we’re really excited about one of our university partners who is working at the intersection of both fields, using the CAN bus to develop autonomous agricultural vehicles.

Santosh K. Pitla, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of Advanced Machinery Systems at the University of NebraskaLincoln, a school well known for its agriculture and land management programs. His research has focused on improving efficiencies within agricultural machinery, specifically in tractors.

In a new case study, we review two of Dr. Pitla’s research projects and how he is using Kvaser devices to advance the possibilities of agricultural technology to meet demands for increased efficiency on large-scale industrial farming operations.

For one project, Dr. Pitla and his team have developed and built a field-ready 40-horsepower robotic tractor, nicknamed the “Flex-Ro,” using a Kvaser Leaf Light HS v2 to establish communication between the high-level software and the distributed CAN controllers within the autonomous vehicle platform.

Another of Dr. Pitla’s projects uses a Kvaser USBcan Pro 2xHS v2 to collect operational data from tractors in the field to determine the real-time load demands of the vehicles depending on different tasks, terrains, implements used, times of the year and operators. Analyzing the data collected from the tractor’s CAN bus will create a better understanding of actual tractor power consumption in varying conditions, and can be used to create more accurate estimates of average load conditions.

To learn how Kvaser supports the work of students and university teams working on CAN-related projects, read about our university sponsorship program.