Smart tractors need smart implements. That’s one of the challenges start-up autonomous tractor maker AgXeed is tackling as its AgBots move on to European farms.
In this interview from Agritechnica ’23, AgXeed product specialist Nadine Bietenduvel shares how over the past five years the company has developed three AgBot models — three-wheel, four-wheel and tracked — with power ranging from 75 hp to 156 hp.
Bietenduvel says the first units were sold in 2022 and describes them as “normal” tractors that can be driven autonomously, and come equipped with three-point linkages that connect with a range of normal farm implements. She notes that the AgBot can be pre-programed and left alone to work autonomously in the field.
Bietenduvel says the biggest challenge the AgBots currently face is the limited intelligence of the implements it works with in the field. “If the implement has a problem, the autonomous tractor is continuously driving,” and will be unaware of any issues with the trailing implement. (Story continues after the video.)
To tackle this issue, AgXeed is now working with implement makers to develop a program that would allow the implement to communicate with the tractors to alert it to problems and issues the trailing equipment is encountering. Bietenduvel says AgXeed hopes that an open partnership with Amazone and CLAAS will prove successful in helping to standardize interfaces between implements and tractors.
“Most implements are not smart right now. But with this partnership, we are trying to push all the implement manufacturers that they start to do or to make their implements smart because then we can drive the whole process autonomously,” says Bietenduvel.
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