Kubota demonstrated a concept tractor “X tractor” that can operate fully autonomous.
Equipped with artificial intelligence (AI) and electrification technology, this so-called “dream tractor” is a completely autonomous tractor that is to represent the future of farming drawn by Kubota.
Based on various data such as weather data and growth rates, AI chooses the appropriate operation and makes actions timely. Kubota’s 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 realise centrally-managed efficient operation.
The X tractor uses 100% electric power by a combination of lithium-ion batteries and solar batteries. Full electrification contributes for zero emissions and reducing environmental loads, says Kubota.
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The four-wheeled crawler is to achieve stable autonomous driving even on wet paddies and uneven terrains.
The four-wheeled crawler changes its shape to maintain the tractor height at the optimal level, thus performing in various processes. For processes that need 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 can be adjusted by increasing the tractor height.
The in-wheel motor makes it possible to arbitrarily change the rotation speed of the 4 crawlers (front, rear, right, and left) to achieve a small turning radius for autonomous operation on various types of land.
This futuristic model was presented at an exhibition for new products in Kyoto. It comes half a century after showing the first concept of “dream tractor” in 1970. To counteract a shortage of employees and low efficiency, it is essential, according to Kubota, to introduce smart farming quickly.
Also see this video: Japanese firms in race to develop driverless tractors