Open software platform to connect agricultural machines and IT systems

Open software platform to connect agricultural machines and IT systems

Technology News |
By Christoph Hammerschmidt

The rapid development of sensor technology and internet-based data processing enables agricultural enterprises to conduct their work on the fields, to monitor and feed their livestock with much higher precision than before and to document their processes. The data generated help farmers to increase their productivity and profitability.  However, the software tools in use in agricultural environments are typically point tools with focus on certain segments in the value chain. And they are not always compatible to the machinery and software systems of competitors.


In the project ODiL, the DFKI Robotics Innovation Center, the Universities of Bonn, Osnabrück and Würzburg as well as the Competence Center Isobus (CCI) and farm management expert company m2xpert GmbH will devise an open software platform that enables agricultural enterprises to communicate with their business partners along the entire value chain in real-time and in a reliable manner. In addition, the platform will enable them to share their data selectively with dedicated partners. Doing so they can continue using their existing machines and information systems because the new platform does not replace these systems. Instead, it interconnects them. ODiL’s unique feature lies in the fact that it helps the owners of these data to maintain their intellectual property along the value chain.


Being an Open-Source platform with the license system globally established in this segment, ODiL will be open to third parties to use and further develop the system. Thus, the software could create the basis for economically relevant networks, linking all players along the agricultural value chain. With the Look and Feel of a social network, the open, modular and decentralized architecture of the platform will enable vendor-spanning market acceptance. To the science community, ODiL will offer a research platform with direct access to the market, serving as technology basis for smart farming projects.


The DFKI’s Robotics Innovation Center (Bremen, Germany) is coordinating the project and holds the responsibilities for design and implementation of the software architecture, focusing on the openness of the platform. They will develop a range of function building blocks with open, reusable functions. This will guarantee the compatibility of the software, independent of any vendor-specific standards.


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