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Yanmar makes robot tractor affordable

Tractor manufacturer Yanmar continues to convert normal tractors into robot tractors. There are already 50 converted autonomous tractors operational in Japan.

The fact that Yanmar focuses on driverless, autonomous tractors is not new. However, things are currently accelerating and Yanmar is now also showing their progress to the European public.

The so-called “robot tractor” was displayed at the Yanmar stand at Agritechnica and is recognisable by the large antenna on the roof and the cameras in front of it.

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The so-called "robot tractor" was displayed at the Yanmar stand at Agritechnica and is recognisable by the large antenna on the roof and the cameras in front of it. - Photos: Mark Pasveer
The so-called "robot tractor" was displayed at the Yanmar stand at Agritechnica and is recognisable by the large antenna on the roof and the cameras in front of it. - Photos: Mark Pasveer

A robot tractor for € 10,000

What is very special: for a mere 20% extra, you can convert the standard 113 hp Yanmar of the YT5113A type into a robot tractor. That means an additional investment of € 10,000 (or $ 11,000). And with that, the robot version suddenly comes within reach of (normal) farmers.

50 Yanmar robot tractors operational in Japan

According to Yujiro Hongyo from Yanmar, 50 robot versions are already operational in Japan. And with success. Most of them are involved in rice cultivation, primarily for performing simple tasks such as cultivating and sowing.

Yanmar offers 2 versions. The first one is a robot tractor that drives completely on its own after you have given clear (learning) instructions to the tractor via the built-in tablet. With the second version you use the robot tractor as a follower, where it follows another tractor that performs the same work. This way, one driver can operate 2 tractors at the same time.

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The conversion of a standard tractor into a robot tractor means that a GPS receiver will be installed, along with 4 sensors that scan the environment for obstacles and people or animals,
The conversion of a standard tractor into a robot tractor means that a GPS receiver will be installed, along with 4 sensors that scan the environment for obstacles and people or animals,

GPS receiver and 4 sensors

The conversion of a standard tractor into a robot tractor means that a GPS receiver will be installed, along with 4 sensors that scan the environment for obstacles and people or animals, so that the tractor actually stops. The 4 sensors consist of 2 laser cameras and there are 2 ultrasonic sensors on the side (at the height of the cab entry).

In addition to Japan, the first robot versions are operating in South Korea and in Thailand. It’s not clear yet when these robot versions will make their way to the rest of the world. For Europe for instance it also depends on emission requirements; most large Yanmar tractors do not do not (yet) meet those.

Also read: Yanmar launches new autonomous tractors

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