In order to feed a growing world population in a sustainable way, we have to look for future-proof forms of food production. In the Netherlands we strive for agriculture where natural resources are saved and soil ecology and biodiversity are enhanced. At the same time, this must be done in a profitable and competitive manner.

background information

In our vision, robots perform tasks autonomously in the field. They can sow, harvest, remove weeds, monitor and care for crops. As a result, farmers spend less valuable time on these types of basic tasks. With this type of robots, no (or much less) pesticides are required and heavy machines no longer drive on the land. This leads to less soil compaction and therefore the land does not have to be plowed (or plowed less deeply). In addition to enormous savings on fuel, this also leads to better soil quality and new crops become possible. Agricultural robots are in full development. However, there are still a number of challenges to be resolved. One of those challenges is fully autonomous, robust and safe navigation. The robot must be able to drive without a driver.

project approach & project goal

In this project Saxion works together with three pioneers in the field of agricultural robots in the Netherlands. The goal is to develop a solid picture of solutions to the navigation problem. We map out which products and frameworks there are and to what extent they can be used immediately. Based on the findings, we consider whether the navigation solution will be purchased or whether it will be developed ourselves, for example on the basis of existing open source projects. Part of this KIEM project is the start of follow-up projects, such as RAAK MKB or RAAK-PRO.

research outcome

The “AgriNav” project gives a boost to the use of small autonomous self-driving robots in the agricultural sector, which can lead to new and more sustainable agriculture. This is in line with the ambition of the Netherlands to be at the forefront of technology for food production. The project strengthens the consortium's knowledge position in both the top sector HTSM and AgriFood and the NWA routes “Sustainable production of healthy and safe food” and “smart industry”.

Duration project

Start project: 01-01-2021 - End project: 31-12-2021




Hogeschool in Enschede, Deventer en Apeldoorn

More information about the project?

Wilco Bonestroo

Wilco Bonestroo

Senior Researcher and Project Lead

+31 6 13 00 19 96 linkedin