Croplands launches driverless spraying platform

CROPLANDS has partnered with autonoTRAC to marry the WEEDit optical spot spray system with PhantomDrive - a smart, autonomous, driverless platform.
Croplands launches driverless spraying platform Croplands launches driverless spraying platform Croplands launches driverless spraying platform Croplands launches driverless spraying platform Croplands launches driverless spraying platform

Phantom weeder: Croplands has released a fully-automated spraying system which uses a PhantomDrive system linked to WEEDit technology.

Mark Saunders

Shown for the first time this week at Farm Fest near Toowoomba in Qld, the PhantomDrive kit can be added to current model tractors that have a Continuously Variable Transmission.

Croplands adopted the WEEDit technology from Europe about five years ago. The WEEDit sensors detect weeds by recognising the active chlorophyll present in all living plants. A signal is then sent to a solenoid to activate the correct nozzle as it passes over the target weed - minimising the amount of herbicide that is applied to bare ground.

Croplands northern regional manager, Jeremy Rennick said making the WEEDit autonomous was the next logical step for the product.

“We see it suiting medium to large-scale farmers trying to get more efficiency into their operation either by giving themselves more time for other tasks around the farm or through better utilisation of their existing workforce,” Rennick said.

The PhantomDrive platform can be accessed remotely on any smart phone, tablet or computer with internet access. It monitors both the tractor and sprayer and any issues with either will be alerted through a warning system.

It has weather station capabilities for monitoring environmental conditions at the site of application and the system will stop operation if pre-set weather parameters are triggered.

The Croplands WEEDit PhantomDrive also incorporates a collision avoidance system, to eliminate any accidents on farm with people, animals or foreign objects. 

Creator of the platform, Luke Schelosky, said the PhantomDrive is a truly autonomous drive system.

“We understood that an autonomous tractor by itself is simply a novelty so we had to provide a truly integrated system that not only gives excellent autonomous performance but also monitors and works in conjunction with the implement,” Schelosky said.

“Things like an on board weather station, SMS warning system for both the tractor and implement, tyre pressure monitoring and the ability to successfully steer around obstacles in the paddock were all critical in making the system a success.”

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