1988 - Volume #12, Issue #1, Page #03[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
New Robotic Driver for Tractors, Combines"It automatically steers your tractor or combine with unbelievable accuracy," says Tri-R Innovations, Gibson City, Ill., of its revolutionary new "Robotic Driver."
Unlike previous guidance systems which tie into the internal steering system and are costly, complicated and limited pretty much to vegetable cropping, the Robotic Driver (patent pending) is amazingly simple and attractively priced at only $2,999. It's an all electronic guidance system ¨no hydraulic hoses, valves or fittings ¨ and uses a small rubber-tired wheel to steer the steering wheel.
The miniature wheel is powered by a small electric motor and gets its "steering instructions" from the control box to which it's attached.
A "cat whisker" type sensor is located up front between any two pairs of . rows. There's also a sensor mounted on the tie rod which constantly monitors position of a steerable front wheel, and a third sensor which goes on the piece of mounted or trailing equipment to monitor position with respect to the rows.
"The system is easily installed on most any tractor or combine in about three hours," says inventor Ralph Baillie.
Unlike passive guidance systems, which tell you which way to turn the steering wheel to keep "on target," the new Robotic Driver does the steering going through the field, leaving the operator free to drop the wheel while he monitors the workings of the equipment, watches for rocks, or what-ever. An alarm sounds as the tractor or combine approaches the end of the field, alerting the driver to get ready to manually turn the rig around and into position for the next pass. As soon as the turn is made, it's back again to "hands off" steering as the automatic pilot takes over.
Baillie notes that the Robotic Driver system is easily switched from one piece of equipment to the next, such as from tractor to combine. "It's especially good for ridge farming. You never have to worry about staying on top of the ridge," Baillie points out. "It's much more accurate than you can manually steer, allowing you to speed up operations and even work at night without damaging the crop. Also, not having to constantly grip the steering wheel means less driver fatigue."
For more information, contact FARM SHOW Followup, Tri-R Innovations Inc., 628 S. Sangamon, Gibson, City, Ill. 60936 (ph 217 784-8495).
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