Tractor major Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd plans to launch its driverless tractor in 2019 while it would launch a driver assist model in 2018, a top company official said.“We will launch the driver assist tractor in 2018,” Pawan Goenka, Managing Director told reporters.
He said following that model, a quasi driverless model would be launched and finally a fully driverless tractor would be launched.
The technology was developed at Mahindra Research Valley near here-the group’s technology hub.
Goenka said the challenge before the company to launch the driverless model is to get the government’s permission as well as the vehicle’s final cost.
He said the company has already moved the central government for approval.
He hoped the government would soon draft the policy and the framework for such driverless vehicles.
Goenka said the cost will be higher due to imported components and the company is working to bring the cost down.
According to Goenka, the company commands 43 per cent market share in the domestic tractor segment and hopes to increase the share by three more percentage this fiscal.
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.
The company plans to offer the driverless tractor technology across its range of tractors from 20 HP to 100 HP over a period of time.
Some of the unique features of the driverless tractor are:
Autosteer – GPS based technology that enables a tractor to travel along a straight line.
Auto-headland turn – Enables the tractor to orient itself along adjacent rows for continuous operation without any steering input from the farmer.
Auto-implement lift – Feature in the tractor that automatically lifts the work tool from the ground at the end of a row and lowers the tool after the tractor has oriented itself for operation at the next row.
Skip passing – This technology feature enables the tractor to steer to the next row for continuous operation without any intervention of the driver.
Geofence lock – Prevents tractor from going outside the boundaries of the farm
Control via Tablet User Interface – Enables the farmer to programme various inputs needed to farm efficiently. Also offers controls to prevent the tractor veering off from its intended path or desired operation. He can also control the tractor remotely via a tablet.
Remote Engine Start Stop – Ability to stop the engine and hence, bring the tractor to a complete halt if needed in cases of emergency
Picture courtesy: Alamy