Robotics Plus Launches Prospr: An Autonomous Vehicle for Orchards and Vineyards

New Zealand-based agritech company Robotics Plus has introduced Prospr, an autonomous, multi-use hybrid vehicle designed to improve efficiency and reduce labor reliance in orchards and vineyards. Prospr is now available commercially from Robotics Plus, a renowned specialist in agricultural robotics.

The remarkable feature of Prospr is its ability to accommodate multiple swappable tools, allowing it to perform various tasks required in the orchard and vineyard crops. Depending on the day’s work, the vehicle can attach the appropriate tool, and multiple Prospr vehicles can work together as a fleet to complete the job efficiently.

Equipped with perception systems, Prospr utilizes data-driven insights through a combination of sensing tools that enable it to navigate and operate in its environment autonomously. This ensures a more efficient and sustainable approach to crop management.

Robotics Plus will be presenting Prospr for the first time at FIRA 2023, an event in California dedicated to autonomous agriculture and agricultural robotics solutions.

Steve Saunders, co-founder, and chief executive at Robotics Plus, highlighted the unprecedented challenges faced by the agriculture industry in terms of producing sustainable food, reducing emissions, and lowering costs. Prospr provides a solution by being a robust autonomous vehicle that adapts to the specific needs of growers while reducing emissions, input, and reliance on human labor.

The modular architecture of Prospr allows for year-round utilization and flexibility, enabling the vehicle to use different tools to suit various crop types and applications. This ensures maximum return on investment for growers.

Prospr features an all-electric drive system for superior torque and control, along with its onboard power generation using a Tier 4 diesel generator. This allows the vehicle to operate for extended periods without the need for charging or refueling.

With its hybrid power and drive system, Prospr is designed to achieve over 70% reduction in fuel consumption compared to traditional diesel tractors performing the same tasks. The vehicle also boasts excellent maneuverability, grip, and control, thanks to its intelligent all-wheel-drive system with independent wheel motors.

In terms of its footprint and steering, Prospr has a small size and unique configuration that includes electric steering and independent motors. It can turn on its rear axle with a minimum headland requirement of 7.1m/23ft for row-to-row turning, and the minimum row spacing is 1.85m/6.07ft, giving growers more options for deploying automation in various applications and crop types.

Additionally, Prospr’s lightweight design, combined with its tire and wheel configuration, minimizes ground compaction.

Robotics Plus is partnering with industry leaders to deliver various technologies for Prospr. The first of these partnerships is with Croplands, a leader in sprayer technology. Together, they have created the Q Series sprayers that allow growers to deploy different spray configurations based on crop types, format, height, and the requirements of the day.

Safety and management are also prioritized in the design of Prospr. The vehicle is equipped with a mesh network for a more consistent connection, ensuring operational efficiency and user safety. Operators can use the new organizational tool with an easy-to-use interface to manage and streamline daily operations. Coordination between team members is enabled through multi-language support, and jobs can be logged in advance and viewed in real-time.

Prospr represents another significant advancement in agritech by Robotics Plus. With its innovative features and capabilities, the vehicle is poised to revolutionize the way tasks are carried out in orchards and vineyards, improving efficiency, sustainability, and lowering labor reliance.

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