At a new product exhibition held in Kyoto City, Japan on 15-16th January 2020, tractor and heavy equipment manufacturer Kubota demonstrated their concept machine, ‘X-Tractor’. Equipped with artificial intelligence (AI) and electrification technology, this “dream tractor” concept is a completely autonomous tractor that represents Kubota’s view of our farming future.
The ‘X-Tractor’ has been initially developed to address the challenges facing Japan’s farming industry, including an ageing population that manages growing farm operations with labour shortages and low operating efficiency. As smart farming becomes an urgent necessity for Japanese farming, Kubota are incorporating environmental efforts into the new futuristic design, where the machine’s lithium-ion and solar batteries contribute zero emissions.
With the aid of AI, weather data and growth rates can be analysed by the tractor to farm as efficiently as possible, and as a totally autonomous operation. This information can also be shared to other ‘X-Tractors’ working on a farm, to create a synchronised fleet of agricultural machines.
The four-wheeled crawler achieves stable autonomous driving even on wet and uneven terrain and can change its shape to maintain height at an optimal level during various processes. For example, tasks that require high traction, the contact area with the ground can be increased by lowering the tractor and therefore its centre of gravity. The in-wheel motor makes it possible to arbitrarily change the rotation speed of the four crawlers to achieve a small turning radius for autonomous operation on various types of land.
Kubota’s ‘X-Tractor’ has showcased half a century after exhibiting its first ever concept tractor at the Japan World Exposition held in Osaka in 1970.