SDF adds robotic vineyard tractor to the mix

Same Deutz-Fahr has taken a majority stake in vineyard robotics startup VitiBot. Based in Reims, in the heart of the Champagne region, the French company makes a 100% electric and autonomous straddle tractor called the Bakus.

by Steven Vale

29 Jul 2022

Described by SDF as an innovation accelerator, the move will allow VitiBot to accelerate its commercial development in vineyard equipment, and the two companies plan to develop a new range of precision farming solutions for a market that is expected to grow in the future.

It is not such a strange move as you might think for SDF, which also owns grape harvester and sprayer maker Grégoire. VitiBot will operate like this French subsidiary in that it will remain independent within the SDF Group.

SDF top man Lodovico Bussolati said that after a thorough search of available technologies the company realised that VitiBot was the best solution for vineyards. “It allows us to enrich our tractor offer with self-driving and zero-emission electric vehicles,” he comments.

VitiBot was founded in 2016 by French wine grower Dominique Bache and his son Cedric, a robotics engineer. It took them five years to develop the roughly 2.4t Bakus tool carrier, which is available as the S-model, for straddling 1.75m high x 60cm wide vines, and the L-version for 2.20m high x 80cm wide crops.

The Bakus can be equipped with a range of electric and non-electric tools, including mowers, sprayers and mechanical weeders. More than 50 machines are reportedly already working in vineyards around the world.