Rise of the machines

LANDPOWER has staked its claim in the autonomous tractor sector with the Australian release of the revolutionary AgBot.

Developed by AgXeed, a Dutch technology start-up, AgBot tractors allow a range of monotonous or time-sensitive tasks, such as tramline renovation, spraying and spreading, to be performed without an onboard operator.
AgBot is distributed in Australia and New Zealand by Landpower, one of the largestprivately-ownedfarmmachinerydistributorsinAustralasia.

Landpower Vegetable Centre Product Manager, Haydon Martin, says the AgBot platform is an ‘absolute game changer’.

“This is not a tractor retrofitted with autonomous technology and it’s not a self-propelled implement,” he says.
“It’s a purpose-engineered machine that combines the performance and versatility of a conventional tractor with cutting-edge autonomy and guidance technology.
“The only difference between them and a conventional tractor is that they don’t have a driver.”

AgBot is available in three models: the three-wheeled 2.055.W3 (75 hp), the four-wheeled 2.055.W4 (75 hp) and the twin-tracked 5.115T2 (156 hp).
The narrow body three-wheeled unit is expected to find its home in orchards and vineyards, while the four-wheeled unit and tracked units are ideal for livestock and cropping operations.

“These machines can do whatever a tractor can do – cultivation, seeding, spraying, spreading, slashing,” Haydon says.
“Automation is about making better use of your available labour, rather than replacing it.
“AgBot can perform monotonous jobs for much longer periods without stopping or the need for human supervision, freeing up your staff to do more important things.”

The tracked AgBot 5.115T2 model is powered by a 4.1 L four-cylinder Stage 5 Deutz diesel engine that produces a maximum output of 155 hp and a maximum torque of 610 Nm.
The engine drives a generator that in turn, powers a 700 volt electrical system for the 130 hp PTO and ground drive.

“This hybrid system delivers maximum torque and efficiency at all speeds,” Haydon says.

Designed specifically for AgBot, the track assemblies are hydraulically suspended and can be set on a range of track widths from 1.8 to 3.2 metres.
A range of track sizes is available from 300 to 910 millimetres. The eight-tonne unit is fitted with front and rear linkages with maximum lift of three and eight tonnes, respectively.
The unit itself weighs 7.8 tonnes. The 210-bar hydraulic pump delivers a maximum flow of 85 litres per minute to the four double-acting proportional spool valves.
There’s also an optional load-sensing Power Beyond connection. It’s fitted with a 350 litre diesel tank and a 30 litre AdBlue tank, which is enough for 15 to 20 hours’ operating time, depending on the workload. AgBot is fitted with a dual RTK GNSS navigation system that delivers sub-2.5 cm accuracy.
It has full ISOBUS connectivity, which allows variable rate application, mapping and data collection.
The machine also has its own cellular connection to enable remote diagnostics and online file transfer.
There are four separate safety and obstacle detection systems to keep the tractor and everyone around it safe – LiDAR light detection and ranging, radar, ultrasonic sensors and safety bumper. AgBot is controlled via an easy-to-use portal, which can be accessed the portal via your smartphone, tablet or computer.

“The portal provides an overview of your AgBot fleet and implements, your farms, surveyed fields, planned tasks; real-time performance of live tasks and a job history of completed tasks, including time, fuel consumption and application data,” Haydon says.

“You simply select the field you want to work in, create a task, configure your AgBot with the required implements, select the reference line you want to work from, set the start and stop points of the task and how you want the task to be carried out.
“You can plan all of your tasks days, weeks or even months in advance, including different scenarios for each operation if necessary.”

The task is saved to the portal and then sent to the machine.
The task management centre automatically plans the most efficient route, ensuring coverage of the entire area within the boundaries with minimal overlap.
The AgBot is then manually ‘driven’ to the paddock using a remote control and turned to autonomous mode once it is in the paddock.

“You can check on the live performance of each machine on the portal or viewing the front and rear onboard cameras,” Haydon says.

About Landpower: Landpower is one of the largest privately-owned farm machinery distributors in Australasia. It represents some of the world’s leading farm machinery brands, including CLAAS, AMAZONE, JCB (NZ) and Väderstad (AU), via its network of 33 owned and franchised CLAAS Harvest Centres and 22 independent dealerships throughout New Zealand and Australia, as well as GRIMME, ASA-LIFT, SPUDNIK and AGXEED via its national Landpower Vegetable Centres in Melbourne and Christchurch.

More information: Landpower Product Manager – Precision Farming, Haydon Martin, +61 447 184 250.

newsletter icon

Keep in touch with the latest AgXeed updates