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Precision Makers stops sale of robotic tractors

Precision Makers stops selling kits with which tractors and mowers can be converted to autonomous vehicles.

Dutch company Precision Makers however does not cease to exist. Precision Makers, part of ‘Dutch Power Company’ (DPC), has only decided to stop selling its so-called X-pert conversion kits. With these systems tractors – mainly Fendt and John Deere – and self-propelled mowers can be converted to a autonomous vehicle.

Around 150 X-pert kits

In Western Europe these kits are mainly used on tractors that perform repetitive tasks, such as narrow-gauge tractors used for spraying orchards or tractors that perform monotonous tasks during a long period of time. The self-propelled mowers equipped with a X-pert system are mainly used on golf courses and sports fields. Precision has sold around 150 X-pert kits in total.

YieldMasterPro

The company has also decided to stop selling kits with which yield measurement systems can be added to potato or beet harvesters. These kits were sold as ‘YieldMasterPro’ and were mounted on – amongst others – harvesters by Vervaet en Grimme.

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Precision Makers has sold 20 autonomous Fendts already, mainly tractors that are being used in orchards. Prices for their robotic system start at € 38.000.
Precision Makers has sold 20 autonomous Fendts already, mainly tractors that are being used in orchards. Prices for their robotic system start at € 38.000.

Greenbot stays in production

Precision Makers als produce the Greenbot robotic tractor, which continues to be available. Director Allard Martinet explains why his company stops the production of the X-pert and Yieldmaster kits. “We are focussing more on our own products within Dutch Power Company. We will continu to develop the Greenbot robotic tractor and robotic software. The same goes for our affiliated brands Votex, Herder and Conver.”

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Precision Makers also developed their X-pert kits for John Deere tractors, in order to convert them to autonomous tractors. - Photo: Precision Makers
Precision Makers also developed their X-pert kits for John Deere tractors, in order to convert them to autonomous tractors. - Photo: Precision Makers

John Deere R8

Martinet continues: “When it comes to the X-pert kits it is getting more and more difficult to keep up with the speed with which the big tractor manufacturers are developing new technologies. For instance, the robotic kit that we developed for the John Deere 8R tractor (see video below) we had to modify 3 times already, because John Deere keeps changing the software for components and the way they are controlled. The same goes for Fendt.”

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“The manufacturers are not necessarily trying to make our lives difficult, but they do not inform us before they make changes. We usually only find out about it when problems occur with the tractors in the field, after they have been given software updates by local dealers. And when that happens, our developers have to travel to the customer immediately to get the system working properly again. And that can be anywhere in the world.”

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The autonomous Greenbot by Precision Makers will remain available and the company continues to develop it. - Photo: Peter Roek
The autonomous Greenbot by Precision Makers will remain available and the company continues to develop it. - Photo: Peter Roek

According to Martinet this is not only costly, but it also slows down development of new systems. “In addition, it remains difficult to find enough new employees. And within Dutch Power Company there are plenty of development projects that require attention and manpower. So all things considered the decision for us was a logical one.”

Martinet says that parts will remain available for existing customers for the coming 10 years. Also, Precision Makers will supply support in terms of software for sold X-pert kits for the coming 5 years.

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