Agri-Safe-Sense – a sensor/camera-based intelligence safety device for agricultural machinery - is the brainchild of 26-year-old product design graduate, Eugene McManus who hails from a farming background.
The Boho, Co. Fermanagh native established the business in November 2018 with a brief that farm safety can often be "neglected for numerous reasons".
“Agri-Safe-Sense is something which has been in the pipeline for a number of years from first initial ideation to the present reality of a final, functional product.” the Boho, Co. Fermanagh native told Catherina Cunnane – That’s Farming.
Research indicates that, in general, farmers’ attitudes to safety only change after serious injury occurs. “A large proportion of all fatal workplace accidents occur in agriculture, even though a small proportion of the workforce is employed in farming.”
“The level of farm accidents is not decreasing, and similar accidents occur each year,” he added.
The young entrepreneur feels that the persistently high rates of fatal incidents and work-related ill health in agriculture are of real concern.
“Injuries and illness can ruin lives and businesses. Health and safety are a fundamental requirement of a sustainable farming business and should be regarded as an essential part of farm business management.”
How does it work?
Eugene pointed out that unwise risk-taking is an underlying problem in the industry and highlighted that those working on their own are especially vulnerable.
His innovative system is aimed at pedestrian detection on farms when machinery is in use.
“Vehicle-pedestrian collisions through contact with machinery been one of the highest injury/fatality rates within the industry.”
The main objective when embarking on this project was to design a device for the detection of pedestrians in blind spots where farm machinery operators are unable to view, leaving it impossible to cover all angles of the machine just through the use of mirrors whilst manoeuvring the vehicle.
Agri-Safe-Sense works on four sensors; front, back, left side, right side, each with a 360-degrees live view camera system. Its smart tech arthrograms are specifically designed to detect human form only.
“It is able to relay a live time feed to an onboard vehicle control panel system which alerts the vehicle operator of when a pedestrian is within the vicinity.”
“Most machinery operators know that traditional systems of obstacle detection are more of a disturbance than an actual help.”
“Vehicles constantly operate in the vicinity of objects that do not need to be detected. A compactor alongside a safety fence or a demolition machine in the middle of rubble do not need continual alarms to warn them of these obstacles.”
“In case such as these, a traditional device will sound an alarm continuously. Requirements to only raise an alarm only if a pedestrian is put in danger.”
It ensures pedestrian safety without unnecessary alarms to distract the operator.
Aiming to be a lifesaver
The sense can be fitted to all types of farm machinery; other benefits include assistance with manoeuvres, stress reduction of vehicles’ operators and of pedestrians alike.
Eugene believes his product has the ability to reduce the number of agricultural accidents and near-accidents.
“Agri-Safe-Sense is a patented product and currently going through full-time exploration in real-life farming conditions with rigorous testing on the family farm.”
“It’s something that can’t be rushed as it’s a safety product and ultimately aiming to be a lifesaver within the agriculture industry,” Eugene concluded.