Earlier this week, Sabanto Inc. released its first autonomy kit designed for Kubota M5 tractors. The company said the kit is the first product it has begun selling to end users in North America.
Osaka, Japan-based Kubota Corp. develops a range of machinery designed for the agriculture industry. Its products include “lawn mowers, utility vehicles, construction equipment, agriculture tractors, and hay equipment,” according to its website.
Kubota’s M5 tractors start at around $50,763 and were designed to be used by professionals in the agriculture space. The series was launched in 2015.
Sabanto’s autonomy kit is designed to retrofit the M5 series with self-driving technologies. That in turn helps companies address labor challenges, Sabanto said, since the tractors can now operate autonomously and work continuously.
“We are completely disrupting the way the industry views autonomous equipment, and we are bringing in partners who share our vision,” said Craig Rupp, founder and CEO of Sabanto, in a statement. “We see a future of smaller, smarter, lighter, less expensive, and more sustainable swarms of autonomous equipment that will enable users to cover more ground with less.”
Sabanto's autonomy kit tested in various U.S. states
The Chicago-based company said it has tested the autonomy kit on a fleet of smaller 60 and 90 horsepower tractors. It has been used to till, plant, seed and weed in states including Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Missouri, Nebraska, Minnesota, North Dakota, Wisconsin, and Texas.
“Sabanto is committed to providing the very best customer experience. To serve customers at the local level, Sabanto is building an elite network of dealer partners who have all been working in the ag technology solution space for decades, ensuring customers experience world-class purchasing guidance and technical support,” the company said.
The company said it plans to announce the additional companies its has partnered with upcoming releases.
Kubota makes bet on Bloomfield Robotics
Kubota also announced this week that it has invested in Bloomfield Robotics in a partnership with Oeneo, a manufacturer of wine-making tools.
Bloomfield Robotics develops AI-powered plant imaging technology. The company said its mission is to “make every farm vehicle a continuous data collection platform that assesses the health and performance of every plant in the specialty crop space by providing plant-level insights to help growers make more informed management decisions.”
Koji Hasegawa, Kubota Corp’s GM of Innovation Center Silicon Valley, said the partnership will help spur more technological development in the farming space.
“Through partnership between Kubota and Bloomfield, we believe that we can provide more precise and efficient farm operations and create new values for farmers by collaborating with some of both companies' technology, products and services,” stated Hasegawa.