India’s First Driverless Tractor Showcased by M&M
India’s first driverless tractor, showcased by Tractor major Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) and it is developed at the company’s R&D centre Mahindra Research Valley near Chennai.
The tractor will be officially launched in three phases such as 1. Driver assist, 2. quasi-driverless and 3. a completely driverless model.
Pawan Goenka, managing director, M&M said that, it will start with the first version — driver assist — in February 2018 followed by two other modes during next year.
He also said, “There are two biggest challenges before us — getting the government’s approval and then bringing down the cost to make it affordable for Indian farmers. We hope the government will soon draw a framework and then make policy changes to enable us to launch this innovative technology in India. We don’t see any regulatory hurdles for the first two phase of this innovative product technology."
He also informed that, the company is also working with the agriculture ministry to see how it can take forward this kind of innovation forward and due to import of certain components, fixing a price can be a challenge during the first phase.
He said, “Our R&D centre is working hard to ensure that the prices are affordable. The product, which is expected to redefine the mechanisation process of Indian farmers in a big way, has been targeted at global markets too.”
Some of the unique features of this driverless tractor include,
1. Autosteer (GPS-based technology that enables a tractor to travel along a straight line);
2. Auto-headland turn (enabling the tractor to orient itself along adjacent rows for continuous operation without any steering input from the farmer);
3. Geofence lock (preventings tractor from going outside the boundaries of the farm), etc.