Apex.AI, a company that develops safety-certified software for mobility and autonomous applications, has announced a joint product development project for commercial-ready autonomous farming systems with Krone, a manufacturer of agricultural machinery and precision agricultural technology, and Lemken, a company that manufactures innovative machines for tillage, sowing and sustainable plant care.
A ‘Combined Powers‘ concept vehicle, featured above and developed by Krone and Lemken, is an autonomous drive unit that acts as a smart system that can plough, cultivate, sow, mow, turn and swath. Together the companies are now transitioning the concept carrier vehicle from the prototype stage to series production by leveraging Apex.AI’s Software Development Kit (SDK), consisting of Apex.Grace and Apex.Ida.
Key software functions of the ‘Combined Powers’ architecture are based on the Robot Operating System ROS, making it a logical decision to rely on Apex.AI products, which are also based on ROS. Unlike ROS, however, Apex.AI’s products are certified by TÜV Nord for applications with special functional safety requirements and are therefore suitable for commercial vehicle use. Due to the compatibility, the data obtained with the prototypes can be used directly in series development. This makes the Apex.AI software the ideal core component for the further development of the ‘Combined Powers’ products into series production.
“Apex.AI is establishing an operating software for the autonomous age. The partnership with Krone and Lemken is a win-win for all parties: Our development environment, consisting of Apex.Grace and Apex.Ida, is the perfect basis for the applications of Krones and Lemkens carrier vehicles. We are now working closely with both companies on a first project to familiarise the teams from the agricultural technology manufacturers with the suitability for series production and the possibilities of the Apex.AI products and methods. We will also evaluate our software as the framework and middleware solutions as part of the implementation phase of the VTE concept,” explains Jan Becker, CEO of Apex.AI.
“In working with Apex.AI, we see the opportunity to move from a development solution based on ROS and ROS 2 to a series solution based on Apex.Grace and being able to implement secure functions,” says Manuel Volk, developer at Krone, “I also expect a faster learning curve in the company, since many developers are familiar with the concepts and tools of the Apex.AI SDK from their previous work with ROS and ROS 2.“
“Apex.AI enables us to develop applications that are largely independent of the hardware used. This accelerates the development process and reduces complexity.” adds Michael Nienhaus, a developer at Lemken.
Apex.AI is an international developer of safety-certified base software, enabling a faster transition to software-defined vehicles and software-defined mobility. The company’s software products are based on proven open-source software, such as ROS or Eclipse iceoryx. Through a proprietary process, we add what is necessary to support commercial and safety-critical applications such as functional safety, real-time determinism and flawless performance. The company’s headquarters is located in Palo Alto, CA, USA, with offices in Berlin, Munich, Stuttgart in Germany, Gothenburg in Sweden, Tokyo in Japan and Pangyo in South Korea. To date, Apex.AI has raised over $75 million USD from world-class venture, financial and strategic investors including AGCO, Airbus Ventures, Canaan, Continental AG, Daimler Truck, HELLA Ventures, Jaguar Land Rover’s InMotion Ventures, Lightspeed, Orillion, Toyota Ventures, Volvo Group Venture Capital and ZF.