The agricultural robot from Dutch start-up AgXeed is now ready for the field. René Koerhuis, from Trekker farm machinery magazine, went to see one of the prototypes in action
One of the big pluses for AgXeed’s AgBot is that it can be coupled with existing implements. Around the back of the autonomous tractor is an 8.0t capacity linkage paired with a 3.0t lift at the front, both capable of working with your existing range of implements. It can even use its electric to drive pto-powered kit.
Diesel engine plus generator
When we caught up with one of the prototype units at Limburg, in the Netherlands, it was working down a freshly cleared beet field with an electrically powered Imants 38WX spading machine. This particular version was equipped with a Deutz liquid-cooled, four-cylinder diesel motor producing 115kW/156hp. AgXeed plans to offer three standard models in the future: 55kW/75hp, 105kW/143hp and
The energy for powering the hydraulic system and the pto comes from the diesel engine for now, but the Dutch company does not rule out other power sources in the future. As it is, the diesel motor is mounted centrally in the chassis and coupled up to a generator that supplies power to the electric drivetrain for the tracks, the electric pto drive and, via suitably thick orange cables, to electrically powered implements.
The 38WX spader unit had been converted to electric drive by Imants, which has been collaborating on the project. The conversion means there is no need for a central gearbox. Instead, a large liquid-cooled electric motor with final reduction drives the main rotor via a chain. The working width of the spader is 3.00m.
Watching the electrically driven spading machine work its way across the field is truly impressive. You hear almost nothing. It is only when the tractor drives right past that you notice the sound of the electric drive, similar to the gentle hum of a large electric forklift in combination with a hydrostat.
Plan in advance
The AgBot relies on a combination of satellite navigation and sensors to find its way within a given field boundary. More recently it has gained a system for optical recognition of plant rows