Kubota has unveiled a concept tractor, equipped with artificial intelligence and electrification technology, at a product exhibition held in Japan, representing what the manufacturer sees as the future of farming.
Known as the "X tractor - cross tractor" the model was on show at an event in Kyoto City on January 15-16, held to commemorate the 130th anniversary of the company's founding.
The company said they intend to continue developing labour-saving technologies such as this "Dream Tractor" in order to address the challenges for Japanese agriculture, which include the aging of farmers and labour shortage.
Key features of the concept tractor includes completely unmaned operation driven by AI.
Based on various data such as weather data and growth rates, Kubota says AI chooses the appropriate operation and makes actions timely. The 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.
Full electrification by combination of lithium-ion batteries and solar batteries will achieve an environmentally friendly farm operation.
The company also said the four-wheeled crawler can 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 being able to perform in various conditions. For conditions which demand high traction, the contact area with the ground would be increased by lowering the tractor height in order to lower its center of gravity. Alternatively, when operating above crops for their management, clearance from the ground could be adjusted by increasing the tractor height.
The in-wheel motor makes it possible to arbitrarily change the rotation speed of the four crawlers (front, rear, right, and left) to achieve a small turning radius for autonomous operation on various types of land.