New Zealand-based agritech company Robotics Plus has launched Prospr, an autonomous, multi-use, hybrid vehicle designed to carry out a variety of orchard and vineyard crop tasks more efficiently and sustainably while reducing reliance on labor. Prospr is now commercially available from Robotics Plus, a specialist in the design and build of agricultural robotics.
Prospr accommodates multiple swappable tools being developed, including newly released tower sprayers for grapes or tree crops. The autonomous vehicle uses a combination of perception systems to sense the environment, enabling data-driven insights.
Robotics Plus will showcase Prospr for the first time at FIRA 2023 this week, a California-based event dedicated to autonomous agriculture and agricultural robotics solutions.
Steve Saunders, Co-founder and Chief Executive at Robotics Plus says the agriculture industry faces unprecedented challenges as this generation works to produce more food sustainably while reducing emissions and supplying at a lower cost.
“Prospr is a robust autonomous vehicle, with all-day running, that adapts to the jobs growers need to do while reducing emissions, inputs and reliance on increasingly hard-to-find machine operators. We’ve focussed on utilisation and flexibility with a unique modular architecture, allowing different tools for various crop types and applications year-round to maximise return on investment."
Dr. Alistair Scarfe, Co-founder and Chief Engineering Officer at Robotics Plus: “We’ve made multiple technology advances for Prospr, including a remodelled platform for tools, new spraying attachments, and a new user interface to aid management and planning. We’ve also improved machine connectivity, control, safety and localisation. Prospr has its own wireless network, keeping vehicles online and enabling software updates for new features. We’re really proud to release another world-leading robotic innovation to market, thanks to the expertise of our outstanding team and partners.”
Prospr has an all-electric drive system for superior torque and control. Its onboard power generation, with a Tier 4 diesel generator, allows the vehicle to operate for extended periods without charging or refuelling.
Dr. Scarfe adds, “We’ve put our hybrid power and drive system through its paces and can achieve over 70% reduction in fuel consumption when compared to traditional diesel tractors doing the same job.”
Modular and adaptable
Prospr has a small footprint and unique steering configuration, incorporating electric steering and independent motors.
Q Series Sprayers, developed by Robotics Plus in conjunction with Croplands, allow growers to deploy a range of spray configurations, adapting to various crop types, growing formats, heights, and the day's job.
Safety and Management
To implement Prospr, a mesh network is installed to give a more consistent connection and interaction with the machine, improving operational efficiencies and user safety. Operators can manage and streamline the day's work with a new organizational tool with an easy-to-use interface.
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