German farm machinery manufacturer Horsch Machinen says it will release more details about its futuristic looking Robo autonomous planter late next month.
A video of the big red planter being towed to a field by a truck and then being put through its paces sowing corn caused plenty of global interest after it was uploaded to social media platform, Twitter.
Horsch joint CEO Philipp Horsch said the video showed the Robo planter undergoing its first real planting trials.
"The Robo works well, it is autonomously planting, turning at the headlands etc," he tweeted.
He said safety regulations in Germany for fully autonomous vehicle use were now so strict that a person had to stay in the field within 600 metres to watch the machine.
Some more field impressions of our first real planting trials.— Philipp Horsch (@HorschPhilipp) April 29, 2021
The Robo works well, it is autonomously planting, turning at the head lands etc…
All goes rather well. Thanks to the team behind it that got it going in such a short time! pic.twitter.com/MayDA3cZJ5
Mr Horsch said two more autonomous "concepts" would follow the Robo by the end of the year.
He said the machine was likely to be released for sale in about two years, depending on efforts to change current regulations.
The Horsch Robo was equipped with a Trimble navigation system and was fitted with a large seed hopper.
A number of the comments on the German company's Twitter account were sceptical about autonomous farm machinery.
The 24-row Horsch Maestro planter's towing vehicle runs on two tracks.
Horsch also manufactures trailed and self-propelled sprayers and the company is keen to develop robotic versions of them.
A spokesman for Horch Michael Braun said Philipp Horsch and his brother Michael attached a "very high priority" to the development of autonomous vehicles and machines.
"As of the end of June 2021 we will provide further information and photos on our company (communications) channels and share with you our vision of autonomous technology in a more detailed way," he said.
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