Solar Cultivator

The interlock drive system allows for revolutionary new devices that prepare a seedbed and control weed and that are powered solely by renewable energy and without compacting the soil. To top it all, agriculture with such devices would not require herbicides. The youtube videos below demonstrate a number of working prototypes.

Utopus with 1040 Watts Pv Panels

Powerfull device for weed control (4-5 cm depth), bean plantation

Shallow tillage for weed control

Tillage depth is some 4 cm. Power is provided by solar panels alone.

Utopus with narrow tines

This video shows how the interlock drive system uses relatively narrow spikes to pull a cultivator. There are only two tines of 10 mm diameter for every cultivator of over 46 cm.

Utopus weed control at 5 kWh per hectare

This machine is 2m wide, 4m long, and has an overall speed of 200m/h at an electricity consumption of 200 Watt.

The machine needs 25 hours to cover one hectare, at an energy cost of 5 kWh.

Israeli Utopus measures soil temperature on-the-go

The thermometer is integrated with the anchor. One minute and 20 seconds into the clip you can see that the soil temperature is 17 ℃ (ambient air temperature is 14 ℃). A pair of alternating motions takes about 13 seconds, the anchor is stable in the ground for about 5 seconds.

This is the world's first tillage device that measures soil properties from a fixed point in the soil.

More on the Israeli Utopus

Israeli Utopus tills wet soil

It already rains for more than 24 hours, and the soil is wet. A tractor would slip, and would compact the soil. Utopus does not slip and does not compact.

More on the Israeli Utopus

Primary tillage to a depth of 20cm

Power is provided by an electric motor of 3kWh.

Two videos that demonstrate working capacity and tractive efficiency

The 3 chisels plow at 10cm depth. This is deeper than needed for weeding, but good in order to estimate machine capacity.

The model is powered by 2 solar panels of 130 Watt nominal output each. It is March, and it is partially cloudy, so expect no more than 200 Watt of total power.

The cogwheel travels 220 cm along the chain. Of that, 10 to 20 cm are lost when placing the anchors, so a little more than 200 cm is tilled for each alternating motion. An alternating motion takes about 20 seconds, so the overall speed is 3 meters per minute, 180 meters per hour.

Of the 20 seconds, about 1 second is spent on reversing the motor directon and 1.5 second on placing the anchors. While placing the anchors, the anchors move backwards up to 5 cm, while the opposite chisels move forward some 10 cm. We conclude that these 5 cm of backward motion indicate that tractive efficiency is better than 97%. Compare this to the tractive efficiency of a wheeled tractor, which is 70% .

If this machine is used for seedbed preparation, without crop, and with the three chisels placed 15cm apart, field capacity would be 0.8 hectars (2 acres) per hour.

Utopus simulator

The Real-Time Systems Group at the University of Koblenz-Landau in Germany has agreed to develop autonomous path following for Utopus. The simulation on the left is part of this effort.

Wind powered prototype
Early prototype, powered by power take-off

This video was taken while experimenting with a design for primary tillage. The tractor provides power only over via the take-off. It does not pull.

Explanation of the design, in Spanish