A CommunicationEfforts by the Agricultural Industry Electronics Foundation (AEF) to develop a protocol for in-field communication between ag equipment have been under way for the better part of the last year, with the ultimate goal being to standardize machine-to-machine communication between equipment of different manufacturers.

An AEF project team recently completed a report on its activities and findings, one which outlines the approach taken on a number of organizational objectives. Examples include:

  • Use case definitions for ag machinery
  • Definition of radio standards for short- and mid-range wireless communication
  • Functional safety and security concept
  • Usage and integration of existing communication protocols

The team also identified a number of key scenarios of machines in different working activities that require continuous communication. An example of one was a pair of machines working close together, as a parallel platooning operation. In addition, other situations included multiple machines operating in the same field. All are scenarios where staying connected is necessary.

The report also provides two very interesting outcomes from their activities:

1. The recommendation of a communication standard that provided acceptable results in field testing

2. The ability of ag equipment to communicate with other highway equipment using the same standard

During field testing of equipment in different harvest scenarios, the use of IEEE 802.11p provided promising results in short- to mid-range communication.

Also, in an interesting collaboration between AEF, the Car2Car Consortium, the European Telecommunication Standards Institute (ETSI), AgGateway and ISO, a successful field test was conducted between a car and tractor to demonstrate the ability of different types of equipment communicating using the IEEE 802.11p standard. The car and tractor shown below were used to prototype this protocol to communicate important safety messages while both were traveling on a highway.            

All these activities are moving the ag industry in the right direction and leading it toward an exciting future as everyone becomes more connected in ways never thought possible.

For more details on all the AEF team activities and findings, please visit https://www.aef-online.org/the-aef/activities/activity-report.html

AEM is a Steering Committee member of the AEF and also provides support to the Chair Group in the role of Secretariat.

For more information on the AEF or the AEM, contact the AEM Technical Director Mark Benishek (mbenishek@aem.org, tel: 414-298-4118). 

For more AEF news and updates, subscribe to the AEM Industry Advisor