UK's first autonomous robotic tractor gets to work in Suffolk

Built by Danish company Agrointelli, the Robotti is said to be the world’s first diesel-powered fully robotic tractor. And the first UK farming enterprise to purchase an Agrointelli Robotti 150D is Home Farm Nacton in Suffolk.

Purchased sight-unseen at a cost of £150,000, the Robotti will be used for the production of organically grown crops. Farm director Andrew Williams reveals why the company purchased the Robotti 150D and how the autonomous tractor will be used on the farm. “Buying the tractor was an easy decision. I heard about Robotti from Gordon Cummings, Fram Farmers machinery manager, who had been looking into the use of robotics in the fresh produce sector for a couple of years.

"From a business point of view, we are all confident this is where the future for vegetable and root crop production is leading.”

Robotti can be programmed to perform zero-radius turns or U-turns on the headlands. Its guidance system can work in between rows or crop beds, follow an A-B line, or work systematically in bouts.

The Agrointelli Robotti 150D will be imported into the UK by Autonomous Agri Solutions based at Alcester in Warwickshire. The company will also provide customer support and product training.

“Organic crop production necessitates a great deal of repetitive work, as the crop beds constantly require hoeing and weeding. In the past we have relied on east-European workers, however, in recent years it has become increasingly difficult to find reliable sources of labour who are prepared to undertake this kind of work. The Robotti 150D represents a solution to this problem. “We ordered the Robotti in January. After discussing our requirements with Agrointelli, they were able to build a robot to specifications which suit our farming system and we took delivery on April 12.” The Home Farm Robotti 150D is two metres wide, with the wheels set at 1.84m (72 inches) to fit the crop beds. We are using the Robotti exclusively for hoeing at the moment, by adapting a weeding harrow to fit the machine which literally tickles the soil surface between the crop rows to prevent weeds from germinating.”