Bobcat has unveiled two new autonomous electric machines at a Media Days news conference during the 2024 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada.
“We ignited an entire industry 65 years ago with the creation of the compact loader, and today, we are leading the equipment industry into a bold new future,” said Scott Park, Doosan Bobcat CEO and vice chairman. “Founded on iron, we are reimagining the future of our equipment to give customers more power, performance, and control with a focus on connectivity, alternative power sources, autonomous capabilities, and more.”
The company shared several examples of commercialized products, recent concept products, and innovation advancements that demonstrate a significant shift in functionality and capabilities. Among its latest concept updates and introductions, it unveiled the industry’s first autonomous and electric articulating tractor — the Bobcat AT450X enabled by Agtonomy.
Bobcat established a partnership with Agtonomy, a Silicon Valley-based ag tech software company, to develop autonomous equipment innovations that increase ag productivity and performance.
“Our mission at Bobcat is to empower people to accomplish more. Through strategic partnerships with companies like Agtonomy, we are committed to advancing our worksite solutions to help solve our customers’ toughest challenges,” Park said. “By combining our proven equipment with the latest technologies, we are reinventing how work gets done.”
At450X: Design and technology
The battery-powered AT450X combines Bobcat’s articulating tractor with Agtonomy’s software and embedded-computing technology to support emissions-free and autonomous operation, thus allowing farmers to automate labor- and time-intensive tasks.
The AT450X is designed to autonomously or remotely carry out critical farm tasks in compact applications, such as vineyards and orchards. Farmers can remotely direct the tractor to execute a wide range of tasks, including mowing, spraying, precision weeding, product and material transport and other labor-intensive activities.
“By digitally transforming the equipment farmers know and trust, we can help them combat the daily challenges they face, such as labor constraints and the ever-increasing demand for sustainable farming practices in specialty crops,” said Tim Bucher, CEO and co-founder of Agtonomy. “The Bobcat AT450X with Agtonomy’s TeleFarmer™ technology makes the perfect end-to-end solution for agriculture and other industries allowing both companies to make a positive impact and that is what it is all about.”
Features of the AT450X
- To operate, users plot the machine’s mission path via Agtonomy’s mobile application. This allows the end user to easily plan, execute, and monitor jobs running on unlimited connected machines simultaneously, yielding a positive ROI for owners.
- The machine leverages AI to constantly “learn” and dynamically react to its environment. Through vision-based systems, it can detect known and unknown objects to auto-stop operation if needed.
- Capable of 24/7 operation, the AT450X can swap batteries when it needs to replenish its energy source. It does this by returning to its home base when its battery is low, switching to a fully charged battery, and returning its drained battery to its charging station.
- Commercialization details will be announced at a later date.
“With our company’s beginnings in agriculture, we have a strong connection to the land and an appreciation for the farmers who work long hours in a wide variety of conditions to feed the world,” said Joel Honeyman, Doosan Bobcat vice president of global innovation. “As we innovate for the worksites of tomorrow, solutions like the AT450X will help make farming more productive, efficient, and sustainable through digital advancements.”
RogueX, all-electric and autonomous with RogueX2
At CES 2024, Bobcat also debuted its RogueX concept loader with the all-electric and autonomous RogueX2. Designed with wheels instead of tracks to optimize battery run time, the RogueX2 also features axial flux motors that give the machine incredible pushing power. Together, the RogueX and RogueX2 concept loaders have garnered many new patents pending.
“These patents represent more than new features on a machine—they signify how we are breaking rules to define something new,” Honeyman said. “To build a smarter, more sustainable, and connected future, we must ask the questions no one else has thought to ask before and invent new solutions.”
During Media Days, the company also shared updates on its autonomous mower designed to operate with Greenzie software and the all-electric Bobcat S7X skid-steer loader, which was recognized as a CES Innovation Award honoree in two categories.
Among its new concept introductions, Bobcat has commercialized several innovations in the areas of connectivity, electrification and autonomous operation, including its battery-electric excavators, the all-electric Bobcat T7X compact track loader, Bobcat MaxControl remote operation, Bobcat Machine IQ, Features on Demand, among others.
“Invention is not new for our company; it’s how we started and how we continue to evolve,” Park said. “And just as our equipment design has evolved over the past six-plus decades, we are continuing to advance it with new technologies to be smarter, faster, more powerful, and more sustainable. We are re-envisioning our solutions through the lens of tomorrow’s jobsite and our customers’ needs.”
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Author: Heidi Crnkovic