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Driverless tractor in development for New Zealand orchards

A revolutionary low-emissions, driverless tractor is being developed New Zealand orchards. The prototype aims to transform the productivity of trellised orchards, while reducing carbon emissions. The tractor will be able to perform several tasks, including canopy spraying, mulching, mowing, trimming, and leaf defoliation.

MPI's director of investment programs, Steve Penno: "As well as lowering carbon emissions, we could expect to see reduced spray drift and improved soil and tree health. By improving orchard productivity sustainably, we could increase the value of crops like apples by meeting the growing demand for products made with less impact on the environment."

Smart Machine founders Nicholas Gledhill (left), Walter Langlois, and Andrew Kersley. Photo / Supplied

The end goal was to develop a fully electric tractor but it needed to be suitable for remote rural areas, Smart Machine chief executive officer Andrew Kersley said. This tractor was developed in collaboration with Pernod, and testing was taking place on Pernod vineyards.


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