Same Deutz-Fahr (SDF) is taking a majority stake in French robotics vineyard specialist VitiBot. Both companies will join forces to develop and offer a range of innovative solutions for sustainable precision agriculture.
VitiBot is a French startup company, based in Reims in the heart of the Champagne region. The company is in the emerging market of vineyard robotics with its Bakus, a 100% electric and autonomous straddle tractor. The company was founded in 2016 by father and son Bache, winegrowers in the Aube region.
VitiBot embodies a new dynamic in the French agricultural equipment industry, source of new professions and jobs to come. The Bakus robot is the result of 5 years of research and is developed by a team of young engineers, all passionate about robotics and ecology, who have at heart the ambition to offer new practices to the winegrowers while improving social and environmental sustainability.
SDF is a major world manufacturer of tractors, harvesting machines and diesel engines. It distributes products through the Same, Deutz-Fahr, Lamborghini, Hürlimann and Grégoire brands. With more than 4,000 employees, the group is highly involved in the specialty crops market and generated € 1.5 bn in sales in 2021.
“We are delighted with this operation that will enable us to meet the challenges of tomorrow’s agriculture, which is the origin of our project. Joining SDF, a century-old group recognized worldwide for its products and values, is a great opportunity for us, and a guarantee of growth and success”, says Cédric Bache, CEO of VitiBot. “This acquisition is a real innovation accelerator for the SDF Group and generates significant synergies for these two complementary businesses. SDF also permanently introduces innovations to ensure that its farm equipment business is part of today’s methods of sustainable precision agriculture.”
“Sustainable and digital agriculture is a key factor of our development. We realized that VitiBot is a good solution for vineyards that allows us to enrich our tractor program with self-driving and zero-emission electric vehicles”, commented Lodovico Bussolati, CEO of SDF”
“Now the goal is to support the company development and the product industrialization, satisfying a market demand that we think will be continuously growing in the future ”. SDF’s priority focus today are unmanned operation, precision agriculture, digital services, collection and management of data, and introduction of electrification technologies for farm equipment. With VitiBot, SDF will benefit from the contribution of qualified teams with specific know-how to achieve these goals quickly and effectively. This operation also ensures that VitiBot consolidates its position as a specialist in robotics for vineyard automation, as well as the guarantee of providing local and personalized support to its customers. The company’s historical investors will remain shareholders and members of the strategic committee, thus assisting the company. Strong recruitment prospects to support the growth of the activity within SDF, like other subsidiaries, such as the manufacturer of harvesting machines Grégoire, VitiBot will keep its full autonomy in terms of technical, industrial and commercial development. The entrepreneurial spirit and agility of the start-up will remain, and qualified engineers will be recruited from now on. With more than 50 Bakus robots already in use in vineyards around the world, an order book that is already full, and a direct sales force and a growing network of dealers, VitiBot will accelerate its commercial development and consolidate its status as an specialist in vineyard robotics and in the design of products in line with the needs of the vineyard and agricultural markets.