GROWERS attending the 45th Commonwealth Bank AgQuip field days will get a taste of their future.
Once again the field days are at the leading edge of showcasing innovation for agriculture as companies use the event as a launching pad.
Case IH ACV
A must see for the futurist is the Case IH autonomous concept vehicle (ACV).
The ACV is a cabless tractor that can operate autonomously with a wide range of field implements.
Case IH Australia and New Zealand marketing manager Pete McCann said the autonomous concept vehicle was a glimpse into the future.
“No one could have imagined a driverless tractor 10 years ago, but the ACV shows us that one day they could be a reality,” he said.
“It’s the perfect example of the possibilities before us and the fact the next big revolution in agriculture could be just around the corner..
“To be able to bring the ACV to Australia and show it to AgQuip visitors is very exciting for all of the Case IH team.
No one could have imagined a driverless tractor 10 years ago, but the ACV shows us that one day they could be a reality.
Mr McCann said the chance to view the ACV at this year’s AgQuip was an opportunity and urged people to make the trip, whether they were directly involved in agriculture or not.
“You don’t have to come from the land or own a tractor to appreciate just how special this concept vehicle is,” he said.
“Autonomous operations are being considered across many industries.”
New Holland Drive
Also on show is the New Holland NH Drive concept autonomous tractor.
New Holland national product manager Tony Peters said they were “excited to showcase this exciting new concept to the Australian market, and make it accessible to a large audience”.
The tractor has the capacity to reach the field autonomously via private on-farm tracks, working together with other autonomous or traditional operator controlled machines.
“The New Holland NH Drive autonomous tractor is an unmanned vehicle that is fully autonomous and can be monitored and controlled via a desktop computer or via a portable tablet interface,” Mr Peters said.
“This enables farmers to access tractor and implement data, wherever they are, from different locations, whilst checking fields from the comfort of their ute, tending livestock or whilst at home, and always whenever they need.
“This facilitates right-time decision making to enhance operational efficiency and productivity. Furthermore, farmers will maintain full control and ownership of their data.”
Monitoring the tractor with a tablet involves a variety of screens according to New Holland.
Screens for the concept tractor include a path-plotting screen to show its progress. Another screen will show a live camera feed, providing the user with up to four real time views, two at the front and two at the rear.
A further screen will enable the monitoring and modification of key machine and implement parameters such as engine speed, fuel levels and implement settings.
According to New Holland the benefits associated with autonomous tractors include the ability to mitigate risks associated with human error as they will follow predetermined and optimised plans for all activities.
This facilitates right-time decision making to enhance operational efficiency and productivity. Furthermore, farmers will maintain full control and ownership of their data.
This will result in higher levels of productivity and efficiency than traditional methods, the company says.
“We are eager to get the tractor in front of as many people as possible to not only showcase the technology, but provide an insight into the brands focus for the future as part of our commitment to sustainability and efficiency,” Mr Peters said.
There are practical reasons for companies to showcase autonomous technologies early in Australia.
University of Southern Queensland (USQ) National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture (NCEA) director Professor Craig Baillie has been conducting research into how autonomous machinery can best be introduced to agriculture.
“Australia is an attractive market for companies to design and test new technologies,” he said.
He said that this was due to the combination of challenging farming conditions and innovative farmers.
“Australian farmers are renowned for being on the leading edge of innovation” he said.
Australia has already proved an effective testing ground for major tractor companies to refine technology ahead of commercialisation, according to Professor Baillie.
“This has allowed Australia to become ‘relatively advanced’ in comparison to North America and Europe in the practical application of precision agriculture technologies,” Professor Baillie said.
“There is definitely an opportunity for more early releases of autonomous tractors in Australia if we engage with leading tractor manufacturers to incubate technology before it is released worldwide.”
Australia is an attractive market for companies to design and test new technologies.
Commonwealth Bank AgQuip is held at Gunnedah NSW from August 22-24.