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Robotics Plus Unveils Versatile Autonomous Vehicle

Robotics Plus, a pioneering New Zealand-based company, has unveiled its groundbreaking autonomous hybrid vehicle called Prospr. Designed to revolutionize orchard and vineyard crop management, Prospr offers increased efficiency, sustainability, and reduced labor reliance. This innovative vehicle boasts a range of swappable tools, including tower sprayers suitable for grapes, apples, or tree crops, allowing it to adapt to various agricultural tasks seamlessly. Prospr’s advanced perception systems enable data-driven decision-making and pave the way for a more sustainable and productive future in agriculture.

Steve Saunders, the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Robotics Plus, has underscored the pivotal attributes of the Prospr, asserting, “Prospr stands as a resilient autonomous vehicle, capable of all-day operations, while adeptly accommodating the diverse tasks demanded by growers. It concurrently achieves the reduction of emissions, resource inputs, and dependence on an ever more elusive pool of machine operators.” Notably, Prospr distinguishes itself through its distinctive modular framework, enabling the seamless affixation of various implements, finely tuned to cater to specific crop varieties and seasonal applications. This ingenious adaptability empowers farmers to maximize their return on investment throughout the year.

One of the standout features of Prospr is its hybrid power system. The vehicle employs an all-electric drive system complemented by a Tier 4 diesel generator for onboard power generation. This innovative setup enables Prospr to operate for extended periods without requiring frequent charging or refueling. Furthermore, regenerative braking and high-capacity batteries contribute to an extended range, making Prospr highly efficient in the field. Its intelligent all-wheel-drive system boasts independent wheel motors, enhancing maneuverability and control.

Alistair Scarfe, co-founder and Chief Engineering Officer at Robotics Plus, highlighted the exceptional fuel efficiency of Prospr, stating, “We’ve put our hybrid power and drive system through its paces and can achieve over a 70% reduction in fuel consumption compared to traditional diesel tractors performing the same tasks.” This reduction in fuel consumption not only benefits farmers’ bottom lines but also contributes to a greener and more sustainable agricultural industry.

Prospr’s design also focuses on optimizing space and maneuverability within orchards and vineyards. It features a small footprint and a unique steering configuration that incorporates electric steering and independent motors. The vehicle’s ability to turn on its rear axle with a minimum headland requirement of 7.1 meters (23 feet) for row-to-row turning is a game-changer for farmers. The minimum row spacing of 1.85 meters (6.07 feet) provides growers with the flexibility to deploy automation in a wider range of applications across various crop types. This translates to faster ground coverage, increased productivity, and more efficient use of spraying time compared to machines that turn on every second row or more.

In addition to its impressive performance and sustainability benefits, Prospr also facilitates collaboration among multiple vehicles. Multiple Prosprs can work together in a coordinated fleet, offering even greater efficiency and productivity gains for agricultural operations.

As the global agricultural industry continues to evolve, the introduction of cutting-edge technology like Prospr from Robotics Plus represents a significant step forward. This autonomous, multi-use, hybrid vehicle not only reduces labor reliance but also enhances sustainability and productivity in orchards and vineyards. With its swappable tools, hybrid power system, and intelligent design, Prospr is poised to play a pivotal role in shaping the future of agriculture by providing innovative solutions to the challenges faced by growers worldwide.

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