Running the driverless tractor from your lounge chair

The New Holland T8 NH Drive autonomous tractor, able to be controlled and monitored from a computer desktop, will feature at Henty.

Field day visitors will get a glimpse into the future of farming with the launch of a driverless tractor from New Holland.

Marking 100 years of tractor production during the field days, New Holland will debut the NH Drive autonomous tractor, which can be controlled and monitored from a computer desktop.

A combination of radar, range finding lasers, and cameras means the T8 NH Drive tractor is able to detect in-field obstacles.

If an obstacle is detected, the tractor sends a message to the interactive interface and the person responsible for the farming operations will decide if and how the tractor can avoid or bypass the obstacle.

The tractor was unveiled last year at the Farm Progress Show in the United States and can perform a wide range of farming tasks day and night.

It can still be driven by an operator, ensuring maximum flexibility.

The tractor is able to reach the paddock autonomously via internal farm tracks, working together with other autonomous or traditional operator controlled machines.

At first glance, tractor likes any other standard tractor and was developed by CNH Industrial in collaboration with technology provider Autonomous Solutions Incorporated, an industry leader in off-road autonomous solutions.

New Holland national product manager Tony Peters said the autonomous tractor could be monitored and controlled via a desktop computer or via a portable tablet interface.

“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 at home,’’ Mr Peters said.

“This facilities right-time decision making to enhance operational efficiency and productivity.

“Furthermore, farmers will maintain full control and ownership of their data.’’

A path-plotting screen shows the tractor’s progress, while another shows its live camera feed, providing the user with up to four real time views (two front and two rear).

A further screen enables monitoring and modification of key machine and implement parameters such as engine speed, fuel levels and implement settings, including seeding rate or coulter downforce.

The route to the paddock can also be planned, and once the tractor reaches it destination, it will get to work, either individually or in tandem with machines driven by an operator.

Able to work 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the T8 NH Drive tractor helps to reduce the risks associated with human error as it follows predetermined and optimised plans for all activities.

In the future, the T8 NH Drive will be able to completely automate grain handling during the harvest when equipped with a trailer, including unloading, transport and offloading activities.

The T8 NH Drive concept tractor is equipped with a cab identical to a standard T8, enabling it to be used for operations where complete autonomy is not yet possible, such as front end loader work and high speed road transport.

The New Holland Drive tractor makes full use of the advanced Precision Land Management technology, following optimised in-field paths automatically generated by the software after taking into account any pre-existing obstacles.

In the future, previously collected yield data will be able to be used for the variable application of inputs and to carry out operations with precision.