Machinery

News 3 commentslast update:29 Sep 2020

Dutch start-up AgXeed premieres ‘robot tractor 2.0’

This week, Dutch start-up AgXeed premieres its robot tractor. A robot that arable farmers have been waiting for, they say. Their secret? Vision, experience in agriculture, a small organisation and the right partners.

In just two years, the Dutch start-up AgXeed developed a ready-to-use robot tractor that arable farmers have been waiting for, according to them. Not a small battery-powered field robot with small wheels or a (large) cab-less standard tractor, but a robot tractor with a 156 hp diesel engine, electric drivetrain, tracks, an electric 136 hp PTO drive, a 8-ton category III hitch and a 3-ton front hitch.

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The robot navigates via RTK GPS and a pre-planned and optimised path planning online, including turning on and finishing the headlands. Challenges appear to mainly lie in the moment of deploying and lifting the tools. - Photo: AgXeed
The robot navigates via RTK GPS and a pre-planned and optimised path planning online, including turning on and finishing the headlands. Challenges appear to mainly lie in the moment of deploying and lifting the tools. - Photo: AgXeed

Solution for various types of work and conditions

According to AgXeed, too many robot developers don’t put farming, agronomy nor practical suitability first when developing farm robot concepts. Co-founder Joris Hiddema: “We think that in particular small robots are very specific and that their feasibility and suitability for large scale farming remains questionable. We want to offer a solution for various types of work and conditions. That includes tillage with a 4-meter-wide cultivator or spader for instance. This requires pulling power and engine power. Something that doesn’t work with wheelbarrow or ride-on lawnmower tires.”

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Autonomy as a system

The secrets behind the short development time of just two years appear to be a small organisation and selecting the right partners. Co-founder Lars Schmitz: “Our core competence is knowhow and experience in farming, in agriculture. We are no robotics or Internet of Things specialists, but system architects. With the right partners and their specialisms and also thanks to innovative implement manufacturers, we managed to set up a working concept in such a short time.”

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Autonomous and independent farmers

The company slogan “We provide autonomy” not only relates to autonomous technology, but also to autonomous and independent farmers. While AgXeed certainly plans to sell the current model online, the company also wants to help other manufacturers make their machines autonomous.

“One of the strengths of our hardware is that safety – which everyone always questions with autonomous vehicles – is enclosed in our hardware, our ECUs. But also our way of collecting and making data available, the (path) planning module in our online portal, these are all separately marketable modules.”

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“We want to help (regional) manufacturers with their autonomy issues for, for example, combine harvesters, vegetable harvesters, et cetera. Also because we believe that regional production contributes to keeping the countryside liveable and to a more sustainable and socially responsible (food) production. But farmers and their business models remain to be the centre of our developments and concepts.”

All details to come

Future Farming follows the progress of AgXeed closely and was the first to see the robot tractor at work. We will reveal more (technical) details soon!

3 comments

  • MM Murphy

    Scratching my head over why their videos seemed to put the camera as far away as possible from the tractor. The first video looked like it was coming towards the camera from the other side of a rise, but the short video stopped before the whole vehicle even came into view.
    This is not to say anything bad about their product, just that these videos make it indistinguishable from a toy and does them no favors.

  • DV Villoury

    I share MM Murphy'opinion, I haven't seen anythinh on the videos
    Dominique Villoury

  • H Claver

    At the moment of publication, these were the only 'sneak preview' images and videos made available by the company, that we didn't want to keep from you. Soon we will visit the company and make our own and more detailed images, which will appear online as soon as possible, together with more details regarding the robot.

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