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SAFE - Safer Autonomous Farming Equipment

Development of safe autonomous agricultural machinery

Automation of the agricultural sector is at the top of the agenda - both in terms of the new EU Framework program, Horizon2020, as well as the global need for more efficient usage of our food resources. Here, robotics has proven to be effective in many areas - amongst others when it comes to the increasing demands for safety within the agricultural sector which is in the process of becoming increasingly automated.

The SAFE project focuses on the safety-related issues.


The aim of the SAFE project is to develop autonomous agricultural machinery that will be able to harvest green biomass and cultivate row crops - without animals or humans being exposed to any type of safety risk. Today, autonomous agricultural machinery is already being used in the fields. However, this machinery requires continuously monitoring in order to ensure the safety of humans and animals.SAFE-projektillustration

This is why the SAFE project brings together the major manufacturers of agricultural machinery and the universities in order to develop advanced sensors, perception algorithms, and rational behaviors for semi-automated tractors and implements and finally autonomous robots. This will enable the machines to detect the presence of humans and/or animals in its vicinity which will then prevent accidents and, to a much greater extent than today, prevent injuries inflicted on animals (deer, birds, etc.) hiding in the field.

The combination of the companies' commercial knowhow and the scientific competencies within sensor technology and signal processing is to ensure the optimal combination of sensors for each type of agricultural machinery. The sensors are the eyes and ears of the machine and should be placed in the best possible spot for each type of machinery in order to reach maximum effectiveness. For example, a forage harvester should keep an eye on other things than a hidden fawn.

Great potential for commercialisation

Increased automation and focus on safety will be necessary in order to support farmers of the future where the maintenance of the soil's cultivation potential combined with good agricultural practice will be essential. The cooperation efforts in the SAFE project will have significant influence on the future development within this area.

The main showstopper for letting the robots loose in the field has been safety. Hence, it is the project partners' hope that their knowledge and research competencies will result in commercial products providing the final basis for robots working out in the field - or at least make it more safe for the farmer to drive in the field with his large and often very broad machinery.


The project starts on March 10th 2014 and will conclude on November 10th 2017. The Innovation Fund Denmark will grant a total of 15 million DKK and the total project budget is 29 million DKK.

Innovation Fund Denmark

Innovation Fund Denmark invests in the development of new knowledge and technology creating growth and employment in Denmark.
The Fund focuses on societal challenges, strengthens research and increases innovation commitment within private companies. 



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