Driverless tractor pulls a crowd
GroundCover™ Issue: 132 January–February 2018 | Author: Liz Wells
A cabless tractor developed by Case IH was one of the main drawcards at AgQuip 2017 – the heads it turned and the questions it inspired show Australian growers are keen to embrace autonomous machinery in their farming systems
Visitors to AgQuip 2017, held in Gunnedah, NSW, got a look at the future of farming when Case IH unveiled its Autonomous Concept Vehicle (ACV) – a ‘cabless’ or ‘driverless’ tractor.
The futuristic-looking machine drew big crowds, and Case IH Australia and New Zealand marketing manager Pete McCann said the ACV was designed to elicit feedback on autonomous technology from growers.
He said the questions during AgQuip indicate growers are raring to go: “A lot of the questions our team fielded about the ACV related to price, the release date, and what implements it can be used with.”
Mr McCann said there was also a lot of interest in how a unit like this could collect data and apply the software growers are already using, or looking to invest in.
The Future Farm Program, set up by the GRDC and the Cotton Research and Development Corporation, is investigating opportunities to fast-track the development of autonomous machinery in Australia.
Mr McCann said the Future Farm Program offers great opportunities for machinery companies to test emerging technologies in real-world situations. He said the development of autonomous technology was progressing rapidly, with commercially available units expected within three to five years.
Mr McCann said companies developing autonomous agricultural machinery are working to ensure it meets stringent safety standards and adds value to farming.
“The introduction of autonomous machinery is giving us the chance to help growers make their cropping systems more efficient, sustainable and profitable,” he said.
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