Robotics

Autonomous rice transplanter set to head for the paddies

The YR8D, A will be available in Japan as of Feb. 1st
The YR8D, A will be available in Japan as of Feb. 1st
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The YR8D, A will be available in Japan as of Feb. 1st
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The YR8D, A will be available in Japan as of Feb. 1st
An onboard GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) module allows the vehicle to know where it is within the paddy
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An onboard GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) module allows the vehicle to know where it is within the paddy
The YR8D, A can operate in either of two modes, depending on the rice paddy conditions and other factors
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The YR8D, A can operate in either of two modes, depending on the rice paddy conditions and other factors

It was just this July that Japan's Yanmar Agri Corporation unveiled a line of driverless agricultural tractors. Now, as part of the same Smartpilot system, the company has announced an autonomous rice seedling-transplanter.

Known as the YR8D, A, the new diesel-powered vehicle is wirelessly programmed/monitored via an included waterproof 10.1-inch tablet. It can operate in either of two modes, depending on rice paddy conditions and other factors.

In Linear Mode, it automatically moves in straight lines through the paddy, with an onboard driver manually steering the vehicle through the turn-arounds at the end of each row. In Auto Mode, it's able to remain completely driverless, handling the turns on its own. Additionally, its seedling-planting mechanism automatically moves up and down in response to the level of the terrain.

An onboard GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) module allows the vehicle to know where it is within the paddy
An onboard GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) module allows the vehicle to know where it is within the paddy

An onboard GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) module allows the vehicle to know where it is within the paddy. Users can also set up an optional ground-located base station, with which the vehicle wirelessly communicates to more accurately gauge its location.

"The phase where planting is performed in the paddy is almost exactly the same as with a regular transplanter and there are no additional yield benefits," Yanmar's Paul Bartels told us.

"Where the efficiency is realized is in the rearing of the seedlings that are planted by the transplanter. By utilizing the 'dense seedling' process, one tray of seedlings contains far more rice seedlings than the same sized tray grown in the regular process. Therefore, there is a saving in labor and space, compared to the regular process for producing seedlings. The YR8D, A transplanter can utilize these dense seedling trays, whereas a regular transplanter cannot."

The YR8D, A will initially only be available in Japan, as of Feb. 1st. Pricing will range from ¥3,955,000 to ¥5,545,000 (about US$35,230 to $49,392).

It can be seen in action, in the video below.

Source: Yanmar

Yanmar AutoRice Transplanter YR8D, A [0:60]

2 comments
fredmadden
That's what we like to see. Technology putting even more people out of work, or maybe just making more semiskilled or subsistence farm workers being told they can go to town and sit about because they are no longer needed. Way to go designers. People don't count as long as we are rolling this sort of thing out. Just wait for your time when computers can come up with efficiency ideas and you are sitting on a park bench on the government handout wondering where your life went.
JohnnyWhite
All diesel machines must be banned from food fields, "autonomous" or not. They fume, they leak, and the food absorbs the filth.
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