For every farmer who has ever needed an extra set of hands to take care of monotonous work while they focus on specialised jobs, Danish company Agrointelli might have the solution.
Agrointelli has spent the best part of two decades developing Robotti, an autonomous robot for use in the horticultural and broadacre cropping sectors.
Described as an autonomous implement carrier, the Robotti can weed, seed, spray and slash.
Thanks to a three-point linkage, PTO shaft and ISOBUS connector, it is able to pull standard implements so long as they fit between its wheel spacing.
As a result of its low ground impact, it does not have enough weight to do heavy ground engagement work.
Robotti is offered in centre-to-centre wheel widths from 1.6 metres to 3.5 metres.
Two 56 kilowatt (75 horsepower) Kubota diesel engines power the machine, with one engine used for propulsion, steering and lift, and the other powering the PTO and hydraulic outlets.
It has two 100-litre fuel tanks and, with the exception of needing to be refuelled, can operate 24/7.
At present, Robotti has a maximum speed of five kilometres per hour.
Agrointelli product specialist Jens Johnsen said farmers could steer the machine to move it around the property with a remote control.
A plan for the work that needs to be done can be completed on a computer or phone, then shared with Robotti. This information is also accessible on a screen on the back of the machine.
"You map your field out with a field boundary, so the robot won't drive outside your field because we have RTK-GPS, so we always know within two centimetres where the robot is," Mr Johnsen said.
"After you have made the field boundary it uploads it directly to the cloud.
"On our website you put in your parameters and it will make a plan for you that goes to your robot so you don't have to press start out in the paddock."
One of the first questions that invariably comes up with autonomous machinery is, 'what happens if something gets in the way?'
Robotti is able to detect, then slow down or stop for, potential obstacles while driving.
Farmers also receive an alert on their phone when issues arise.
"With Robotti we care a lot about safety, so we have a laser scanner in front of it and cameras pointing forwards and backwards," Mr Johnsen said.
"And then we have a bumper all the way around the robot and what makes it safest is you have the implement in between the modules, so the implement is not sticking outside of Robotti."
Robotti has been commercially available since 2019 with 30 machines now in the European market.
It is now available in Australia and has been demonstrated several times in Queensland, including at Toowoomba's Agtech and Logistics Hub.
Mr Johnsen said Robotti provided farmers with an opportunity to rethink how they were going to use machines.
"Our founder Ole Green is a very forward looking guy and he can see the future before we can," Mr Johnsen said.
"So he saw the possibilities of the autonomous technology already back then and that was his motivation."
When Formatt Machinery and Corematic heard about the Robotti, they decided to partner up and make it accessible for Australian farmers.
Formatt Machinery is the only Australian distributor for Robotti, with Corematic providing deep technical assistance if required.
According to Corematic co-founder and engineering director Scott Hansen, Robotti's arrival was an opportunity to bring innovative technologies to the Australian agricultural scene.
Corematic focuses on externalised research and development as well as technology integration.
"We've observed in Australia there is a keen interest from businesses to innovate but a lot of them think of it as an expensive exercise," Mr Hansen said.
"Especially if they are smaller, they might not have the resources internally to be able to actually do that work."
Formatt Machinery owner Nathan Attard said automated machinery was already available in packing sheds and now it was time to start moving that technology out into the field.
Mr Attard said it made sense from a dealer's perspective to move into autonomous sales and service.
"I comes from four generations of sugar and small crop farming in Bundaberg," Mr Attard said.
"I've grown up with everything from 20hp tractors up to 200hp tractors.
"Coming from a farm, I could really see from a farmer's perspective the need into the future for automation."
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