The agricultural sector’s labor struggles have been well-documented. As the rest of the world experiences these problems in the wake of a global pandemic, farmers have even fewer hands on deck. Many are turning to technology to help replace what has been lost.
Despite hypergrowth in the ag robotics market, however, some potential customers remain resistant to change. A common fear? The autonomous solutions will be too much—too complex to understand, too strange to get the job done, and too difficult to manage.
SITIA, an innovator in applied technologies, worked to alleviate these objections by creating a familiar solution. Enter TREKTOR, the first hybrid autonomous robot for agriculture. TREKTOR eases the transition to technological solutions by upgrading a machine that farmers have been using for more than a century—the tractor.
“When we developed TREKTOR, we focused on bringing the machine to farmers who already had tractors because the technology would not be unusual to them,” says Constance Molet, communication and marketing assistant at SITIA. “Because there are fewer people who want to work on farms, those who do need to be able to better organize their work. Farmers need our help. We want to digitize agriculture to enable them to do more.”
While TREKTOR will be familiar to those who work with tractors every day, the autonomous robot also does a lot more than its less-technical predecessor. For example, TREKTOR can vary its track, height and wheelbase to manage tree crops, market gardens, and vineyards with wide or narrow rows. TREKTOR uses GNSS RTK vision to ensure accuracy within centimeters and has sensors and bumpers that act as additional safety precautions.
The machine also works with a range of common implements and existing tools, often undertaking multiple repetitive tasks simultaneously. These tools can be attached to the machine via three-point hitch either behind or between the wheels.
“TREKTOR is also a hybrid robot in that it works only on electricity, but it has a generator that allows it to charge its batteries with diesel gas,” Molet says. “It can be charged in the field, while it is cultivating, blowing, flattening, weeding and more. TREKTOR does a number of different things to help farmers, especially these days, when there is a real lack of manpower in the industry.”
For farmers who are ready to integrate TREKTOR onto their operations, SITIA began commercialization in 2021. Those who purchase TREKTOR benefit from in-depth training and after-sale services that ensure farmers are never left in the dark about how to install, operate and repair the machine.
To learn more about making the transition from tractor to TREKTOR, visit www.sitia.fr/en/innovation-2/TREKTOR/.