A Utah technology company last week introduced a couple of farm tractors that don’t have to stop so the driver can have lunch. That’s because these tractors need no drivers.

A Utah technology company last week introduced a couple of farm tractors that don’t have to stop so the driver can have lunch. 

That’s because these tractors need no drivers.

Autonomous Solutions Inc. (ASI), located near the tiny Cache County town of Petersboro, and British firm CNH Industrial unveiled two concept autonomous tractors at the Farm Progress Show in Boone, Iowa. ASI is CNH Industrial’s technology provider, responsible for developing autonomous vehicle technology for farm equipment.

A Utah technology company last week introduced a couple of farm tractors that don’t have to stop so the driver can have lunch. 

That’s because these tractors need no drivers.

Autonomous Solutions Inc. (ASI), located near the tiny Cache County town of Petersboro, and British firm CNH Industrial unveiled two concept autonomous tractors at the Farm Progress Show in Boone, Iowa. ASI is CNH Industrial’s technology provider, responsible for developing autonomous vehicle technology for farm equipment.

ASI was founded in 2000 and employs more than 140 at its labs and 100-acre proving grounds in northern Utah.

The two tractors are a concept cabless Case IH Magnum and a concept New Holland T8, based on a current production tractor. Case and New Holland are familiar farm tractor brands owned by CNH.

The tractors include the ability for autonomous seeding, planting and tillage over both broad-acre and row-crop farming. Advanced work path planning technology in the vehicles’ software and control structure will allow farmers to manage their fields efficiently and oversee the overall operation of multiple vehicles at once. The vehicles are also capable of obstacle detection, which will enhance safety in the agriculture industry.

“ASI is the industry-leading developer of autonomous solutions in the off-road vehicle segment and the natural choice to be one of CNH Industrial’s key technology providers," said Richard Tobin, CEO of CNH Industrial. “CNH Industrial has had a long and successful relationship with ASI and we will continue to work together in developing advanced autonomous solutions for the future benefit of our global customers.” 

Since its founding, ASI has partnered with large global companies to develop automation for automotive, mining, construction, cleaning and agricultural applications. Its application in fields such as security, military and research allow vehicles and equipment to go into environments that are too dangerous for humans to enter. Company officials tout the firm’s ability as a relatively small company to be agile and responsive, therefore operating faster and more economically than larger operators.

“Our relationship with CNH Industrial is vital in facilitating the near-term disruption of how farming is done," said Mel Torrie, ASI founder and CEO.  “We’re thrilled to be working with the leaders in ag innovation to make this exciting future of driverless tractors a reality. CNH Industrial’s selection of ASI as a long- term, strategic robotic development provider validates the capability and flexibility of our robotics platform in reducing the risk and costs for equipment manufacturers to bring advanced capabilities to their respective industries.”

ASI and CNH Industrial have joined forces to create a development model and architecture framework that is flexible and dynamic, able to quickly adapt and adopt new technologies and standards as fast as they become available, the companies said in a joint statement. “This concept tractor results from the integration of ASI’s autonomous hardware and software with CNH Industrial’s advanced platform,” the release said.

ASI has also developed its autonomous technology with other large global companies such as FCA US; Ford; Toyota; Rio Tinto; Anglo American; Boeing; Lockheed Martin; Northrop Grumman; Dematic, a well-known global security company; and others the company said will be announced in coming weeks.

At its Cache County site, ASI designs and manufactures unmanned vehicles, components and software. Over half of its workforce is made up of software engineers. The company also produces kits for the automation of existing vehicles and equipment. ASI’s Mobius software allows for command and control of a fleet of vehicles in addition to ease of use, industry-specific task planning and vehicle diagnostics, the company said. The firms places emphasis on systems integration, obstacle detection and avoidance, tele-operation and fully autonomous controls.

CNH Industrial has corporate offices in London and in addition to agricultural and industrial brands such as Case and New Holland, the company is active in earth-moving equipment, commercial vehicles, buses, firefighting vehicles and defense.

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