Claas has entered into a cooperative venture and acquired a minority shareholding in Dutch start-up AgXeed, the developer of the autonomous AgBot vehicle.
The aim of the joint venture is to cooperate on the development and commercialisation of autonomous agricultural machines.
Described by Claas as a win-win situation, one reason why the company has invested in the start-up is that the technology is in an advanced development stage.
AgXeed is currently field testing a couple of 156hp diesel-electric, rubber-tracked (belt widths from 300 to 910mm) prototypes. Main features include an adjustable track width, a low unballasted weight of 6.0t, load-sensing hydraulics and a standard 8.0t lift capacity rear linkage.
Options include an electric PTO, independent of the engine speed, and external high-voltage connections. The electric equipment includes all the technology required for hazard and obstacle detection, in addition to an RTK steering system.
“Our involvement provides Claas with access to innovative technologies in a familiar market segment and complements our own expertise in autonomy and robotics,” explains Thomas Böck, CEO of the Claas Group. “In turn, AgXeed benefits from our extensive expertise and networks in many areas such as data transfer, interfaces and drivetrain solutions.”
“In Claas we have a partner on board that believes in and shares our ideas on the future of agriculture and will accelerate bringing our solutions to the fields of farmers,” comments Joris Hiddema co-founder of AgXeed.
AgBot, together with the associated software solutions and platforms, is expected to be launched in 2022. The plan is to offer various sizes and performance classes. Further solutions are in development.