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Information contained in this news release is current as of the date of the press announcement, but may be subject to change without prior notice.

January 14, 2015

Utilizing a Self-steering Robotic Tractor in the Developmental Phases of Rice

-- Feasibility Study on Using Quasi-Zenith Satellite System for Precision Farming in Australia --

SYDNEY — January 14, 2015 — Hitachi Zosen Corporation, Hitachi, Ltd., and Yanmar Co., Ltd., have been commissioned to conduct a study on the effective use overseas of advanced positioning signals from Japan’s Quasi-Zenith Satellite System (QZSS) (*1), organized by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications of Japan.

The study seeks to verify that advanced positioning signals transmitted from the QZSS can be used in precision farming in Australia. Specifically, demonstration tests will be conducted using the advanced positioning signals to control a self-steering robotic tractor and perform actual farm work in a paddy field. At present, technical validation is in progress for three high-precision positioning methods: 1) RTNet, 2) RMIT, and 3) MADOCA (*2). The demonstration tests aim to determine the optimal positioning method for precision farming in Australia.

The mainstream positioning method, precise point positioning (PPP), receives positioning data directly from GPS satellites. The challenge is that this provides limited accuracy with an error of approximately 10–20 centimeters, and cannot be replaced with data of centimeter-level accuracy. The study aims to enhance positioning accuracy by employing a new method, precise point positioning with ambiguity resolution (PPP-AR), using Australia’s electronic datum points (* 3), and make it possible to perform accurate farm work with an error of 5 centimeters. The first demonstration test, conducted in late November 2014 during the growth stage of rice, succeeded in controlling the self-steering robotic tractor so that its tires run between rows of planted rice. In January 2015, the tractor will be used to monitor growth conditions. The study will continue thereafter, performing several aspects of farm work at different timings.

Following the study, farm workers and government officials will be interviewed based on the demonstration test results to identify challenges in commercializing precision farming employing advanced positioning signals. In the future, a consortium is scheduled to be organized centering on the three commissioned companies to actively promote precision farming. Plans include further enhancing the accuracy of positioning data, applying the technology to other programs, and expanding services to regions other than Australia, such as Japan and Asia.

About Hitachi Ltd.

Hitachi, Ltd. (TSE: 6501), headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, delivers innovations that answer society's challenges with our talented team and proven experience in global markets. The company's consolidated revenues for fiscal 2013 (ended March 31, 2014) totaled 9,616 billion yen ($93.4 billion). Hitachi is focusing more than ever on the Social Innovation Business, which includes infrastructure systems, information & telecommunication systems, power systems, construction machinery, high functional materials & components, automotive systems, healthcare and others. For more information on Hitachi, please visit the company's website at

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