2015 - Volume #39, Issue #3, Page #05[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Driverless Tractors Ready For Market
concept we first featured 3 years ago in Vol. 36, No. 5. Named the Spirit, it was going to be a lower cost, driverless alternative t o conventional tractors. However, feedback from farmers started the company down a different road, says Terry Anderson,
vice president, System Design, ATC.
“Farmers told us they wanted a way to make their own tractor driverless with the option of driving it when they wanted,” says Anderson. “They also wanted a way to retrofit older tractors with new engines and drives, as well as better implement control.” ATC has addressed these requests with 3 separate products. Auto-Drive is designed to retrofit existing tractors sooperators can change to driverless (not just auto-steer) with the flick of a switch. It uses a combination laser and radio
positioning system to provide accurate location data. Its FieldSmart artificial intelligence software provides tractor system management. The operator quickly trains the tractor a driver. A failsafe system will shut down and notify the operator if it senses a problem.
E-Drive is ATC’s high horsepower tractor retrofi t. Designed for 200 to 600 hp tractors, the E-Drive package replaces the conventional engine, transmission, differential and axles.
It includes 1 or 2 diesel generators, 2 or 4 electric, variable speed, wheel motors as well as a joystick control and a system display. The joystick provides direction, speed and implement control.
“We estimate the E-Drive system is 10 to 20 percent more fuel efficient than a mechanized drive system and has a longer service life than the OEM system,” says Anderson.
IMS is ATC’s answer to the need for implement control. It is a monitoring, control and management system that allows an implement to be used with ATC’s Auto-Drive system and its FieldSmart AI software. It can be adapted to almost any implement, with the software used to detect problems.
Auto-Drive is the initial product to be introduced. It is beingn sold directly to farmers in beta packages for approximately$30,000.
“We will be hosting a field day this summer to launchthe final product and to introduce farmers to E-Drive and IMS,” says Anderson. “We are in discussions with a major equipment retailer for distribution and installation.”
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Autonomous Tractor Corporation, 4302 13th Ave. S., Fargo, N. Dak. 58103 (ph 701 429-3964; email@example.com).
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