Are we approaching a “doomsday” from the cult Terminator, or is this a well-meaning machine that just wants to be useful and help us? Kubota is a Japanese tractor manufacturer with a 130-year tradition, and on the occasion of that anniversary, they decided to introduce a fully robotized and autonomous electric tractor simply named X Tractor.
It’s about a concept that is equipped with artificial intelligence and electric drive with engines housed inside wheels and tracks. As a source of energy, it uses lithium-ion batteries and solar energy from the sun.
Kubota claims that they are one of the first companies to introduce such advanced technology into agriculture.
Utilizing artificial intelligence and technology for autonomous vehicles, Kubota wants to address the problems of modern farmers such as labor shortages and lower operating costs. A self-propelled tractor seems like a great solution to these problems, at least in theory.
Those more versed in the operation of electric vehicles are skeptical about the use of electric propulsion systems for agricultural purposes. Electric vehicles are known to suffer from the limited range with a single charge of batteries. When it comes to batteries, it should be noted that they do not tolerate the long and continuous stresses of the engine that draws energy from them.
The requirements of agriculture are such that tractors have to be under heavy load for hours, at least when it comes to plowing land, which is certainly one of their main applications. According to Kubota, the X Tractor concept can be adapted independently to the terrain on which it rides. If there is a risk of tipping over, the smart tractor will lower itself, thus lowering the center of gravity. The engines inside the drive wheels give it better handling in demanding terrain.