UK début for Case IH Autonomous Concept Tractor at Goodwood Festival of Speed

The Case IH autonomous concept vehicle (ACV) is making its UK debut at the 2019 Goodwood Festival of Speed (FoS), as part of the event’s FoS Future Lab exhibition, and will be on display from July 4-7.

Now in its third year, FoS Future Lab, Goodwood’s technology and innovation pavilion, is bigger than ever with dynamic, interactive content to inspire everyone from experienced industry audiences to younger FoS attendees – the next generation of scientists, inventors and explorers. This year the pavilion presents a carefully curated line-up of 12 pioneering companies from around the globe who represent world-firsts and industry-leading projects across themes including future of flight; smart cities; robotics and Artificial Intelligence; life in outer space; and sustainable innovation on Earth.

The autonomous concept tractor, designed and built by Case IH, promises to bring significant productivity benefits to world agriculture and can be operated unmanned and monitored remotely.

This ground-breaking tractor is equipped with a range of technologies that are used for remote monitoring and control via a PC or tablet, meaning that once the tractor is in the field it can work completely independently, eliminating the need for a driver to observe operation, and so removing the need for a cab. Should the tractor encounter an obstacle it automatically stops, the owner is alerted, and the machine does not restart until camera feeds are checked and a decision on whether the tractor can continue is taken. It also offers the future potential to automatically adapt to weather events; for example, the tractor would stop automatically should it become apparent changeable weather would cause a problem, then recommence work when conditions have sufficiently improved. Alternatively, if on private roads, it can be sent to another field destination where conditions are better – where soils are lighter or there has been no rain, for example.

Key benefits of autonomous technology include the optimisation of farming operations, especially during tight weather windows, as the ACV can work around the clock with no variation in productivity. It also enables agribusinesses to both redeploy labour to value added tasks, as the ACV could conduct routine in-field activities, as well as helping businesses overcome the lack of skilled labour.

Although the ACV is still a concept, key technologies, which derives from the autonomous research and development program, have already been rolled out on currently-available Case IH equipment. The Case IH AFS Connect Magnum, launched earlier this year in the USA and due to be launched in Europe in autumn 2019, benefits from key elements of ACV technology: camera systems enable the operator to see all around their machine; comprehensive telematics enable remote machine monitoring by farm managers and service engineers; and advanced fully-integrated auto guidance ensures accurate parallel infield passes, even on undulating land. The automation of the tractor-implement package is fundamental for practical implementation of autonomy, and managing end of row turns is a key element. As a result, the latest automated headland management system – HMC2, which completely automates end of row turning, is directly derived from the autonomous research and development program. This not only reduces operator fatigue, but also renders end of row turning more efficient.

Similarly, automation has a growing role to play in productive modern harvesting. Case IH’s AFS Harvest Command system equips the Axial Flow combine range with an industry-leading proactive system that enables the combine to react every 20 seconds selecting the best action out of 280 million possibilities.

“We are delighted to be bringing the ACV to Goodwood for its UK unveiling,” said Paul Harrison, UK Business Director for Case IH.  “It is a concrete example of Case IH’s commitment to agricultural innovation, and helping our customers improve their productivity and efficiency.”

The segments in which CNH Industrial is present, namely agriculture, construction, commercial vehicles and powertrain technologies are currently experiencing ever-accelerating ‘megatrends’ in terms of digitalisation and automation and this concept vehicle is a glimpse of what the future of efficient agriculture might look like.

The Case IH autonomous concept tractor will be on display in the FoS Future Lab at Goodwood Festival of Speed from July 4 – 7, 2019, at the Goodwood Estate, Chichester, West Sussex.