Software Architecture for Agricultural Robots (SAFAR)

Sponsored by: The Douglas Bomford Trust



The original Turf Trooper from Autoguide.

A simple WMV movie (1.73MB) of the Tomi simulation can be downloaded here.

Tomi simulation with trees.

RoboTrac by the trees.

The ZEUS robot in MRDS



SAFAR is designed to be easy-to-use by non-programmers who want to try out simulating agricultural robots. It provides a set of tools that integrates with Google Earth so that you can grab an image from anywhere in the world, define a field, create a route plan, choose a robot and simulate the whole thing in MRDS without even writing a single line of code!

You can choose between;
TOMI (front wheel drive, rear wheel steer), Scamp (4WD, 4WS), ZEUS(4WD, 4WS) and RoboTrac.

The 'professional' version uses all the same architecture but also communicates to the 'real' robots to enable real time control as well.

The purpose of SAFAR is to develop a set of designs, tools and resources to help promote the development of agricultural robots. All the the deliverables from this project will be published here and are in the public domain. If any of this work is used or published elsewhere, please let us know and acknowledge the sponsor - the Douglas Bomford Trust.


The overall architecture uses Microsoft Robotics Development Studio which can be downloaded and is free for academic use. This is not an easy package to use as you need to be a skilled .NET programmer but it has a very good 3D simulator and the software framework is well defined. SAFAR provides a set of user interfaces so that you do not need to be a .NET programmer to use it.


A modified Turf Trooper grass cutter from Autoguide Ltd is used as the base platform. All of the major MMIs (Steering, throttle, gearbox etc) have been retrofitted with actuators to allow computer control.

The control system using a XP laptop communicates with the PICs that are closely coupled to their sensors and actuators by SolutionsForResearch.

Development phases

SAFAR1 was completed and used to simulate and control both TOMI and ZEUS

TOMI was demonstrated at the Field Robot Event in the Netherlands July 2009. (Video 22MB TOMIFRE2009.mp4)

SAFAR2 is now under development. This work is being carried out by MobotSoft. SAFAR2 has all the functionality of SAFAR1 but is a lot easier to use and has now integrated Google Earth so that you can choose any location on earth to try out your simulations! You need a normal internet connection for it to work properly.

Download SAFAR

SAFAR2 can be downloaded from Mobosoft here.