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UGV Update: Kubota’s Autonomous X Tractor & c-Link Systems’ Forager

In an agricultural robotics news update on Inceptivemind.com, Amit Malewar reported that the Kubota X tractor “is a prototype that shows one of the lines of research that Kubota maintains in order to adapt and respond to the needs of agriculture in the coming years.” 

Kubota, responding to labor shortages and an aging farmer population, introduced its AGRIROBO line in 2017, of which the X tractor represents a next step. The X tractor is an all-electric, autonomous robotic tractor that uses AI to incorporate weather and crop growth data into its operations.  As noted in a Kubota press release, it is powered by lithium-ion batteries and “solar batteries,” and “changes its shape” to optimize its center of gravity.  “The four-wheel motors allow the speed of the crawler tracks to be set as desired and reduce the turning radius. For jobs that require high traction, the center of gravity of the X tractor – cross tractor is lowered by reducing the height of the tractor.” 

c-Link Systems
Maine-based c-Link Systems is a leading American UGV vendor founded nearly two decades ago. c-Link’s Forager is shown with independently articulable tracked triangularly-configured treads in a 2010 illustration.  The Forager shown in the second image from the top has an articulable powered drive train turning each track that enables the operator to also incrementally angle the tracks in the vehicle’s roll axis, in order to directly grip inclined, sloped surfaces for more stabilized mobility.  The vehicle body can thereby maintain a lower center of gravity for better stability.

Today, c-Link continues to produce Forager variants for custom applications, with both tracked and wheeled mobility options.  These include custom-configured vehicles for farming, ranching, landscaping, mining, construction and search and rescue (SaR).  Shown in descending order in this post are the Kubota X-tractor, courtesy of Kubota via Inceptivemind.com, and 2010 c-Link Systems Forager with independently articulable treads, tracked fire-fighting Aquabot 451, and the 6-wheeled Forager with robot arm for construction work, images courtesy of c-Link Systems. For more information on the Forager series, please contact CEO Bill Lovell at c-Link Systems