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KEE Teams with Trimble for Ag Auto-Steering

 

ADELAIDE, Australia and SUNNYVALE, Calif., Feb. 6, 2004 -- KEE Technologies, an Australian agricultural electronics manufacturer, and Trimble, a leading U.S. agriculture automation and guidance system provider, announced today an alliance to integrate KEE's Zynx X15 multi-function console with the Trimble AgGPS® Autopilot system to provide automated steering capabilities. In addition, KEE will distribute the auto-steer system along with Trimble agricultural GPS receivers in Australia and New Zealand.

KEE Technologies has been in the agricultural industry for more than 25 years and has experienced significant growth over the past three years, primarily due to the release of its Zynx integrated control console. Trimble's alliance with KEE comes at a time when Australian farmers are adopting innovative farming techniques such as auto-steering.

The automated steering system uses Global Positioning System (GPS) technology to guide agriculture vehicles in consistent rows for tilling, spraying and applying fertilizers. The Trimble Autopilot with Zynx's multi-function console saves time and money. It reduces driver fatigue, eliminates guess rows, reduces compaction, and allows around-the-clock operations. Most importantly, the system increases efficiency to lower the net cost per acre.

The automated steering capability will enhance the Zynx's already extensive range of software capabilities. The resulting solution will enable farmers to perform many tasks from a single display, minimizing cab clutter and maximizing utility from the in-cab console.

"Trimble is very pleased to align with KEE Technologies," said Alan Townsend, vice president of Trimble Field Solutions. "KEE's product quality and established brand complement our AgGPS Autopilot system. In addition, their extensive distribution channel will allow us to expand our presence in the Australasian agricultural market."

KEE Technologies CEO, Kym Eldredge, is excited that the Trimble Autopilot system will now be available with the Zynx display, the leading all-in-one console. "Right from the outset, we knew that auto-steering would be a high priority in the advancement of farming techniques. Trimble brings us field-proven experience and a reputation as a leading GPS, guidance and automated steering solution provider. We wanted the best system to integrate with the Zynx display, and with Trimble we have achieved that goal," said Mr. Eldredge.

The Zynx Autopilot system is expected to be available to Australian and New Zealand dealers in February of 2004; installations for farm tractors will begin in mid February.

KEE's Zynx Console

The X15 is the next generation of affordable, integrated multi-functional control centre for precision farming. The X15 has a lighter, slim line, moulded case, no moving parts, and all of the software/hardware components associated with the original Zynx. The console can be used for auto-steering, guidance, spraying, seeding, spreading, mapping, and NH3 (anahydrous ammonia) application. With the Zynx X15, KEE Technologies have created a new benchmark for multi-function consoles. This has been made possible through innovative design, advanced engineering and improved productivity through volume manufacturing. ZYNX X15 is the first of an entirely new volume distribution phase for this type of technology.

The Trimble AgGPS Autopilot System

Trimble's AgGPS Autopilot system easily connects to the vehicle's steering system to automatically guide it in consistent rows, pass after pass. A lightbar or field computer inside the cab allows the operator to select field patterns and display operating parameters. The in-cab display is also used to guide the tractor on path at the beginning of a row. Once on a row, the driver engages the AgGPS Autopilot system with the touch of a button to perform and oversee field operations. The driver, with hands-free operation, can concentrate on the task at hand such as planting or material application, rather than driving and the task. Automated steering allows machines to operate more hours in a day with considerably less stress on the operator. This technology breakthrough translates into increased productivity for the farmer through more efficient utilization of tractors and extended working hours.

About Trimble

Trimble is a leading innovator of Global Positioning System (GPS) technology. In addition to providing advanced GPS components, Trimble augments GPS with other positioning technologies as well as wireless communications and software to create complete customer solutions. Trimble's worldwide presence and unique capabilities position the Company for growth in emerging applications including surveying, automobile navigation, machine guidance, asset tracking, wireless platforms, and telecommunications infrastructure. Founded in 1978 and headquartered in Sunnyvale, Calif., Trimble has more than 2,000 employees in more than 20 countries worldwide.

About KEE Technologies

KEE Technologies is a privately held company that develops and manufactures innovative electronic control solutions for agricultural machinery leading to higher efficiency food production. Today, irrespective of geographic location, the most productive of areas are serviceable with KEE type equipment. A poor season in a large producing area drives produce prices higher, increasing demand for more efficiency. The pattern spreads globally, evening out to generate one of the most long term stable markets in which to be associated, efficient food production. With a history that goes back to 1982 the recent expansion phase of the company has come about as a result of the explosive uptake of GPS in agriculture. The company is at the forefront of this trend globally, with it's fully integrated control and navigation system known as ZYNX.

For more information about KEE Technologies visit, www.kee.com.au.

Media Contact: LeaAnn McNabb of Trimble: 408-481-7808
Media Contact: Carlie Eldredge of KEE Technologies: +61 (0) 8 8203 3300

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