Combining disciplines for smart vehicles and machinery

Greet Heylen is the HR & Business Process Manager at Flanders Make.

Leestijd: 5 minuten

Self-driving cars capture everyone’s imagination. Less common knowledge is that the development of the technology to make machinery and other vehicles autonomous is supported in Flanders. Flanders Make, the research center for the manufacturing industry, maintains close partnerships with the industry to study a wide range of applications: from logistic robots, tractors and weaving machines to assembly cells within production areas. The key to success is a simultaneous design combining mechanics, electricity, electronics, software and control. We give the floor to two researchers.

“In future, agricultural vehicles such as harvesting machines will operate fully autonomously,” says Jan Goos, an engineer with Flanders Make. “They will drive autonomously across the field and, at the same time, perform an operational task such as harvesting. Good software is fundamental for the correct operation of these vehicles as it must respond to all changes indicated by sensor signals, be it in terms of crops, soil or weather conditions.”

“Systems are getting increasingly complex because they have to fulfill an increasing number of requirements,” confirms Suzanne Van Poppel, Core Lab Manager with Flanders Make. “Just driving, for instance, no longer suffices. Accordingly, the design, specifications and control technology of these systems are becoming increasingly complex as well. On top of this, the time to market must be reduced. Software helps vehicle or machine developers to make the right choices to reach these objectives at an earlier stage.”

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