Steering wheels may become redundant, with Agco brand Fendt introducing a joystick steering system option for its Ideal headers.
Launched earlier this year in North America, Agco product specialist Zach Stejskal said the IdealDrive gives the operator an unobstructed view from the header.
"Time is of the essence when harvesting, and operating a combine for long hours day after day can take a toll on the combine operator," he said.
"IdealDrive takes away a lot of the physical stress and reduces fatigue because the operator can see the entire header feeding and control everything from a comfortable position in the cab."
Mr Stejskal said operators used their left hand to steer, moving the joystick left or right, while a force feedback system guides how far the joystick needed to move.
"The joystick turns a headland, 180-degree turn into light work," he said.
The joystick turns a headland, 180-degree turn into light work
"Compare that with spinning a steering wheel four or five times joystick steering will definitely reduce operator fatigue."
Mr Stejskal said because the steering was so responsive, harvest productivity could be improved by up to 6 per cent, compared to conventional steering systems.
"Controls typically found on the steering wheel or steering column are now on the joystick at the operator's fingertips," he said.
"For easy access, control buttons on the top of the steering joystick operate turn signals in road mode and row-finder lights in field mode; buttons on the back are for dim and high-beam lights, the horn and track guidance.
"The steering sensitivity adjusts based on the speed of the machine to optimise the operators control whether the combine is harvesting or in transport mode."
Mr Stejskal said visibility was significantly improved under the Ideal Drive system.
"With nothing in front of the operator but brake pedals and foot pegs, there is a clear view of the entire combine head, especially the center of the header where the crop enters the feeder house," he said.
"The clear view helps ensure the crop is flowing smoothly into the machine for optimum productivity and grain quality.
"The wide-open view makes it easier to see and avoid obstacles in the field or on the road, reducing the potential for machine damage and improving safety."
The system will be made available in the North American market in 2021.