Autonomous Vehicles, Farm Machinery, Farming, Horticulture, Sprayers

Croplands to distribute Prospr autonomous vehicle

Sprayer manufacturer Croplands has joined with New Zealand company Robotics Plus to introduce a new autonomous product

Croplands has become the exclusive Australasian distributor for an autonomous vehicle designed for horticulture tasks such as spraying.

The vehicle, Prospr, is designed by New Zealand-based Robotics Plus and is described as a “robust autonomous, multi-use hybrid vehicle platform for horticulture crops” with its capabilities including automated intelligent spraying.

Croplands and Robotics Plus already have a technology partnership, which is complemented by this new distribution agreement.

“We are proud to partner with Robotics Plus on the design and manufacture of world-leading Quantum sprayer modules to integrate onto Prospr, the autonomous platform developed in New Zealand for horticulture markets,” Croplands general manager Sean Mulvaney says.

“Our focus on bringing emerging solutions to the market continues with the opportunity to distribute Prospr and a range of sprayer attachments across Australia and New Zealand.”

Prospr has an all-electric drive system plus onboard power generation, with a Tier 4 diesel generator, to allow the vehicle to operate for extended periods without charging or refuelling.

Designed for flexibility, the manufacturer says its “unique modular architecture accommodates multiple interchangeable tools being developed, including newly released tower sprayers for grapes, apples, or tree crops”.

This means Prospr can be adapted to various crop types and applications for year-round usage, while multiple units can collaborate in a fleet.

“We have developed an automated, effective spraying and attachment solution with the smarts to not just do the job but to keep doing it better,” Robotics Plus CEO and co-founder Steve Saunders says.

“Prospr customers in Australasia will now benefit from Croplands’ large distributor network, spraying expertise and customer support.”

Prospr has a small footprint and unique steering configuration, the manufacturer says, incorporating electric steering and independent motors.

The vehicle turns on its rear axle with a minimum headland requirement of 7.1m for row-to-row turning.

Minimum row spacing is 1.85m, which the manufacturer says gives growers options to deploy automation in a greater variety of applications in various crop types.

A range of sprayer configurations is also available thanks to the Q Series sprayers which have been developed by Robotics Plus in conjunction with Croplands.

The Q4 and Q6 sprayers have two or three fans per side and are designed for either vine or tree crops.

The larger Q8 sprayer has four fans on each side and is best suited to tree crops.

Croplands Quantum fans are used to build the sprayers, on which the spray rates and air speed are dynamic and controlled per fan to maximise success.

Jobs can be logged in advance and viewed in real-time, while multiple machines can be managed simultaneously by one or two operators from a single remote control via a fixed or mobile console.

Prospr with a Q4 sprayer attached. Image: Robotics Plus
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