The Japanese tractor manufacturer Kubota showcases a larger version of the autonomous AgriRobo at Agritechnica 2023. It is a M5002 tractor equipped with GPS steering and obstacle detection. For now, this AgriRobo is only available for purchase in Japan. Notably, it features a CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) in this M5002.
Japanese tractor manufacturer Kubota already introduced the first autonomous tractors for the Japanese market in 2017. These have been commercially sold there. Until now, this only included 60 hp tractors that Kubota calls AgriRobo. Now, Kubota is adding the AgriRobo MR 1000 A, with a 100 hp diesel engine.
The basis of Kubota’s new robot tractor is the M5002. It is equipped with a GPS receiver and cameras and sensors for obstacle detection. This allows the tractor to work autonomously. However, this M5002 is not entirely standard, as it contains a continuously variable transmission. Kubota is said to have developed this CVT for tractors ranging from 80 to 110 hp. This enables the AgriRobo to accelerate from a standstill to working speed without a driver. The AgriRobo Kubota M5 is also equipped with electric valves. It is not known when the standard tractor M5002 will be available with CVT and electric valves.
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There are four ways to operate the AgriRobo Kubota M5. The first option is to drive completely manually. The second option is control via a remote control. The third option is to let it work fully autonomously. Finally, there is a master-slave principle, where you drive one tractor yourself and have another tractor without a driver follow.
The AgriRobo Kubota M5 is only for sale in Japan. This is because the regulations regarding autonomous driving are already clear there. Kubota reasons, “As soon as the regulations in Europe are sorted out, we have our autonomous tractor ready.” The tractor manufacturer is targeting two markets: fruit growers (orchards) and vegetable growers. Hence, the tractor is displayed with a Kubota hoe that is technically identical to the Kverneland hoe.