Mahindra's driverless tractor will boost Precision Farming

The aim of automation is to embark precision which is beyond human imagination. Technology has helped us to eradicate our mistakes, boosting our current production. The Japanese concept of Kaizen teaches us about ‘efficient allocation of existing resources’. With the rise of automation and machine learning, human activities can be successfully undertaken by machines.

Google, Tesla and other major automobile giants are mulling us with an era of driverless cars. Jim Morrison in his song ‘The Roadhouse Blues’ sings ‘Keep your eyes on the road and hands upon the wheel’. With the technology behind the driverless cars, we don’t need to concentrate while driving. Makers of the driverless car are confident on in-built sensors. In six years of Google’s driverless car experiment, they have involved in just 12 minor accidents during more than 1.8 million miles of autonomous and manual driving experiment. Not once the self-driving car was the cause of the accident. The role of self-driving cars is to bring precision on the road.

Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd., a part of the USD 19 billion Mahindra Group recently displayed its first ever Driverless Tractor. Developed at the Mahindra Research Valley, the Group’s hub of innovation and technology located in Chennai, the driverless tractor is all set to redefine the mechanization process for the global farmer. With this launch, Mahindra becomes the pioneer in the Indian tractor industry with the unique proposition of a driverless tractor. This innovation will change the future of farming by increasing productivity, leading to increased food production to feed the growing needs of the world. Driverless technology was successfully implemented in Mahindra Yuvo tractor series.

The driverless tractor segment would add to India’s precision farming vision of doubling agriculture production by 2025. Precision farming solutions abound at different levels of value chain. Its market comprises of technologies related to guidance systems and remote sensing systems like Global Positioning System (GPS). Mahindra’s driverless tractor has a precision of up to 5 centimetres. This technology will be deployed across Mahindra tractor platforms in due course of time. It will also be deployed across international markets such as USA and Japan, giving Mahindra tractors a distinct competitive edge in global markets with technological advancement being at the forefront. Mahindra plans to offer the driverless tractor technology across its range of tractors from 20 HP to 100 HP over a period of time.

The driverless technology utilises several sensors and systems to steer and operate. Some of the features are:

Auto Steer – The steering is handled with the help of a GPS based technology which enables the tractor to travel a straight line.

Auto headland turns – With the help of this technology, the tractor orients itself along adjacent rows without any steering input for an uninterrupted operation.

Auto implement lift – This technology helps the tractor to lift up work tools at the end of every row, and then lower them at the start of the next row.

Skip passing – This feature helps the tractor in continuing the operation row to row without any intervention of the driver.

Safety features – With all the bells and whistles, Mahindra has also implemented quite a bit of safety features such as Geofence lock which prevents the tractor from going outside the boundary, remote engine start-stop and remote control via tablet, which enables the farmers to program various inputs, and controls the tractor remotely.

Mahindra’s driverless tractor will be available commercially from early 2018, in a phased manner. Mahindra Yuvo tractor series is priced at Rs. 5,00,000 to Rs. 6,49,000.

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