The AMMCOA research project (Autonomous Mobile Machine Communication for Off-Road Applications) funded by the German Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) as part of the program “ICT 2020 - Research for Innovations“ was successfully completed in September 2020. With its department “Wireless Communication and Networks” Fraunhofer HHI was involved as a research partner. The project had a duration of 3.5 years.
With the increasing complexity of agricultural and construction machinery, the requirements for efficiency, precision and safety have grown. Automated - and in the long-term also completely autonomous - operation can lead to optimized, competitive results in this field of application and in the future contribute to demand-oriented production in agriculture and construction. In contrast to autonomous road traffic, agriculture and construction businesses are challenged with the situation of unpaved terrain for which either none or inaccurate digital maps exist. However, precise, relative and absolute localization is essential to prevent the machines from driving into neighboring fields or against each other.
The AMMCOA research project’s goal was to create a highly reliable and real-time network integration of agricultural and construction machinery. Within this framework, a local, mobile and infrastructure-less tactile Internet networking solution was developed. The networking solution provides a very low delay time and automatically integrates with existing mobile networks. This enables a dynamic and demand-adapted extension of the 5G network. Moreover, it allows for a communication infrastructure even in "dead spots". The team also developed an integrated, high-precision localization solution that takes the specific requirements of agricultural and construction industries into account.
Fraunhofer HHI's expertise in the field of wireless communication technology lead to crucial project results. The concepts for controlling phased array antennas for 5G and the measurement setup for evaluating millimeter-wave-based localization were designed and realized by Fraunhofer HHI researchers. The institute’s team developed the system components and signal processing algorithms for determining the direction of incidence of beamformed 5G communication signals in the mm-wave range. Furthermore, the team integrated a demonstrator for the localization of 5G transmitters using mm-wave beamforming technology. The self-sufficient, transportable LTE network ("Network-in-a-Box") at 700 MHz was also developed and integrated at Fraunhofer HHI.
The project coordinated by Infineon Technologies had a total budget of 7.48 million Euros. Project partners were machine manufacturers and suppliers such as BOMAG GmbH, John Deere GmbH & Co. KG and Sensor-Technik Wiedemann GmbH. Software companies and research institutes such as Robot Makers GmbH and the Technical University of Kaiserslautern also participated in the project.