See a Microsoft Surface control the futuristic Case IH autonomous farm tractor (video)

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Windows tablets are good for more than running Farming Simulator 2016.

Case IH has unveiled the autonomous  cabless Case IH row crop tractor that can operate independently with a wide range of field implements, with the appliance managed remotely by the farmer (above) from the field or office.

“In many parts of the world, finding skilled labor during peak use seasons is a constant challenge for our customers,” said Case IH Brand President Andreas Klauser. “While we offer auto-steering and telematics on our equipment today for remote management of farm machinery and employees, this autonomous tractor concept demonstrates how our customers and their employees could remotely monitor and control machines directly. This technology will offer our customers greater operational efficiencies for tasks such as tillage, planting, spraying and harvesting.”

Case IH and CNH Industrial’s Innovation Group based the cabless autonomous concept on an existing Case IH Magnum tractor with reimagined styling. The vehicle was built for a fully interactive interface to allow for remote monitoring of pre-programmed operations. The onboard system automatically accounts for implement widths and plots the most efficient paths depending on the terrain, obstructions and other machines in use in the same field. The remote operator can supervise and adjust pathways via a desktop computer or portable tablet interface, such as the Microsoft Surface

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Through the use of radar, lidar (light imaging, detection, and ranging) and onboard video cameras, the vehicle can sense stationary or moving obstacles in its path and will stop on its own until the operator, notified by audio and visual alerts, assigns a new path. The vehicle will also stop immediately if GPS signal or position data is lost, or if the manual stop button is pushed. Machine tasks can also be modified in real time with via remote interface or automatic weather warnings.

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AFS Global Product Marketing Manager, Rob Zemenchik explained that autonomous tractor operation brings together the latest in guidance, telemetry, data sharing, and agronomic management to offer farm managers more control, monitoring capabilities and cost savings.

“A farm manager can supervise the activities of multiple machines via a mobile tablet interface while he tends to other tasks or even operates another vehicle,” said Zemenchik. “Multiple autonomous tractors can work as one fleet or simultaneously in multiple sub-fleets assigned to separate fields, each assigned with preprogrammed maps and prescriptions. So you could have one tractor pulling a chisel plow followed closely by another one operating a planter. The opportunities for efficiency are substantial.”

See a video demonstrating the technology below:

Read more about the concept vehicle at CaseIH here.

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