Kubota launches wacky driverless concept tractor

In celebration of its 130th birthday, Kubota has unveiled a driverless concept tractor that’s battery powered and uses artificial intelligence to operate autonomously.

The four-track X Tractor concept was revealed at an event in Kyoto, Japan, last week and takes the firm’s vision of operator-free tractors a few steps on from the more conventional-looking Agrirobo machines launched in 2017.

Technical details are very thin, but it’s said to be powered by a series of lithium ion and solar batteries that drive motors on each track unit.

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This makes it possible to change the rotation speed of each track, giving a particularly tight turning circle.

Traction and stability can also be improved by adjusting the ride height and centre of gravity.

It can be jacked up for high-clearance work, too.

According to Kubota, the AI system is capable of fully autonomous operation, using information such as weather readings and crop growth stages to decide when and how it should work.

This information can also be automatically shared with other machines to improve efficiency.   

The X Tractor is an early prototype, so it’s likely to be some time before it, or one of its successors, can be seen working in a field.