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Kuhn tests feeding robot on trial farms

Kuhn has placed a number of its Aura feeding robots at trial farms to eliminate any teething troubles. The first models are expected in 2023.

After many years of secret product development, Kuhn offered a glimpse of its feeding robot called Aura in mid-September. Aura is an autonomous robot that features a mixing tub with a capacity of 3 cubic metres and 2 vertical augers. It loads automatically with a loader arm equiped with a milling cutter at the front, which can move from left to right. This enables the robot to tackle a few milling widths before it has to move.

With 3 cubic metres, the Aura is a good for feeding 250 to 300 animals. Photo: Kuhn
With 3 cubic metres, the Aura is a good for feeding 250 to 300 animals. Photo: Kuhn

3 cubic metres is a moderate volume compared to feed mixers, but because the robot can feed (dairy) cattle 24/7, this should be sufficient for 250 to 300 cows.

GPS and sensors

Reesink Agri, Kuhn’s Dutch importer, does not know all the technical details yet and no specifications and are available yet. Reports however indicate that the Aura finds its way through the barn and the yard with RTK-gps and not by means of buried lines or sensors. Furthermore, sensors on the robot such as laser and LIDAR, are reportedly scanning the robot’s surroundings, so it automatically halts in front of obstacles such as people or animals.

It can unload both to the left and the right with a conveyor at the back. Photo: Kuhn
It can unload both to the left and the right with a conveyor at the back. Photo: Kuhn

A 57 hp Fase-V diesel powers the Aura, which drives on 4 rotating wheels. This ensures a small turning radius and the ability to drive not only forward and backward, but also diagonally to manoeuver on small surfaces. It can unload both to the left and to the right with a conveyor at the back.

The Aura finds its way through the barn and the yard with RTK-gps and not by means of buried lines or sensors. Photo: Kuhn
The Aura finds its way through the barn and the yard with RTK-gps and not by means of buried lines or sensors. Photo: Kuhn

It is speculated online that the first production models will be launched in 2021. Reesink however assumes that the feeding robot is still in its trial phase after having moved on to several trial farms in France. Based on the results, Kuhn can still make adjustments. The actual launch would be in 2023 in France. The Netherlands will soon follow. Possibly, an eAura with an electronic drive will follow.

Author: Eric Wientjes