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Robotics Research
Posted on February 5, 2020 by  & 

Autonomous Electric Tractor, The Future of Farming?

Kubota Corporation has demonstrated a concept tractor called "X tractor - cross tractor - " at a new product exhibition. Half century after exhibiting its first-ever concept tractor at the Japan World Exposition held in Osaka in 1970 (Expo '70), Kubota unveiled "X tractor - cross tractor -" to commemorate the 130th anniversary of its founding. Equipped with artificial intelligence and electrification technology, this is a completely autonomous tractor that represents the future of farming drawn by Kubota. Kubota will continue developing products to realize smart agriculture to address the challenges facing Japanese farmers. For further information see the IDTechEx report on Agricultural Robots and Drones 2018-2038: Technologies, Markets and Players.
In Japan, while an increasing number of farmers retire due to aging, the average scale of farming continues to grow as a result of the contracting out of farm operations and the accumulation of farmland for efficient management. In order to address the challenges which farmers are facing such as labor shortage and low operating efficiency, it is urgently necessary to introduce smart farming. Since launch of AGRIROBO tractors in 2017, Kubota has expanded on autonomous agricultural machinery in the AGRIROBO Series. Now Kubota unveils this concept model with numerous advanced technologies, such as AI and electrification technology, in anticipation of the full-scale introduction of smart farming which is continuously expected by farmers.
Key features
  • Futuristic design
  • Completely unmanned operation by AI: Based on various data such as weather data and growth rates, AI chooses the appropriate operation and makes actions timely. The goal is to achieve a completely autonomous operation. The environmental data obtained by tractors in operation can be automatically shared with other machines at site to realize centrally-managed efficient operation.
  • Full electrification achieves environmentally friendly farm operation: 100% electric power by combination of lithium-ion batteries and solar batteries. For further information see the IDTechEx report on Solar Cars, Buses, Trucks, Trains 2020-2030.
  • One machine for diverse processes: The four-wheeled crawler achieves stable autonomous driving even on wet paddies and uneven terrains, changing its shape to maintain the tractor height at the optimal level. For processes needing high traction, the contact area with the ground can be increased by lowering the tractor height in order to lower its center of gravity. On the other hand, when operating above crops for their management, clearance from the ground to be adjusted by increasing the tractor height. The in-wheel motor makes it possible to arbitrarily change the rotation speed of the four crawlers (front, rear, right, and left) to achieve a small turning radius for autonomous operation on various types of land.
There is currently no date for production and sales.
Source and top image: Kubota Corporation
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