This robotic tractor has the potential to dramatically increase farming efficiency and reduce costs through 24/7 operation. UNSW Innovations licensed this technology to Aurotron International Pty Ltd to further develop it into a commercial product.
Aurotron’s autonomous driverless agriculture machine automates routine farm work such as weed spot spraying and seeding.
The driverless tractor system uses sophisticated steering algorithms designed by Associate Professor Jay Katupitiya in the School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering at UNSW Australia.
According to Luke Schelosky, Owner / Director of Aurotron, “Broadacre farmers today run large tractors due labour shortage and time efficiency issues. Smaller autonomous tractors however can operate 24/7 and are cheaper to run. They require less maintenance and cause less soil compaction. Combined with a weed spot spraying system herbicide usage will decrease and therefore chemical costs and the risk of herbicide resistance.”
Using advanced GPS technology, the tractor can be controlled to a high level of accuracy. Ploughing tines can be controlled to an accuracy of 1-2 cm.
Over 150 cotton growers saw the first live public demonstration of the autonomous tractor at the National Cotton Growers Field Day in early March 2016. The event marked the official launch of the Autonomous Agriculture Machine in the Australian market.
Aurotron is taking orders for the autonomous tractor with the first deliveries scheduled for mid-2016.
“We are very much at the dawn of a new productivity era in agriculture. After extensive field testing, our Autonomous Weed Spot Sprayer model is ready for sale to any farmer in Australia." says Luke Schelosky.
Autonomous spraying is the first application Aurotron is focusing on. However, they are planning to expand the range of applications in the near future to mowing, planting, seeding and harvesting. Professor Katpitiya’s research on autonomous steering technology is focused on increasing the speed and precision of the vehicle as well as uses in mining and goods transportation.
To find out more visit aurotron.com Autonomous Agriculture Machines for weed spot spraying and planting.