Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Productivity Engineering - Smart/Intelligent/Autonomous/IoT Tractors

16 February 2018

Autonomous Solutions, Inc. (ASI)

Autonomous Solutions, Inc. (ASI) has been named a finalist for the 2018 Edison Awards for its work in the development of the Autonomous Tractor Concept with CNH Industrial and its brands Case IH and New Holland Agriculture.

The Autonomous Tractor Concept is the first fully functioning large scale autonomous tractor. It is capable of autonomous seeding, planting, and tillage for broad acre and row crop farming. The vehicles are also capable of obstacle detection which will enhance safety in the agriculture industry.

Design Award for Magnum,  Case IH Autonomous Tractor

Autonomous Tractor Corp


Some of the key players in the autonomous tractor market include Aurotron Pty Ltd, John Deere US, Case IH, Kubota Tractor Corporation, New Holland, AGCO Corporation, Yanmar, Kinze Manufacturing, Autonomous Tractor Corporation and Fendt Corporation.

Not a Tractor

Jun 30, 2017

New approach to an Autonomous Farm Power Equipment

A Canadian engineer and inventor rethought the idea of a farm power unit to create a new way to maximize labor-free farm work.

June 1, 2017
John Deere Rolls Out Smarter S700 Combines & Front-End Equipment
New harvesting solutions includes 4 combine models and new headers

John Deere introduces its smarter S700 Combines for model year 2018 production

Developments in autonomous tractors

19 Jul 2017

1. Technology underpinning autonomous tractors is relatively advanced
2. The technology is in the early stages of commercialisation.
3. Tractor manufacturers i.e. John Deere and CNH have successfully tested concept vehicles.

30 August 2016

CNH Industrial brands - Magnum concept autonomous tractor

                                 Driverless Tractor along with Case IH Early Riser 2150 Planter

CNH Industrial brands reveal concept autonomous tractor development: driverless technology to boost precision and productivity

Based on the existing Case IH Magnum and New Holland T8 high-horsepower conventional tractors, and using GPS in conjunction with the most accurate satellite correction signals for ultra-precise guidance and immediate recording and transmission of field data, the CNH Industrial autonomous tractor concept has been designed to allow completely remote deployment, monitoring and control of the machines.

CNH Industrial’s autonomous technology to completely remove the operator from the cab – in the case of the cabless concept Case IH Magnum.

For more details see the press release


Smart Tractor



Nonlinear modeling and Analyzing of Tractor-Semitrailer Driving Stability Based on Simulink
Chuan-jin Ou et al.
Page 104
International Symposium for Intelligent Transportation and Smart City (ITASC) 2017 Proceedings: Branch of ISADS (The International Symposium on Autonomous Decentralized Systems)
Xiaoqing Zeng, Xiongyao Xie, Jian Sun, Limin Ma, Yinong Chen
Springer, 06-Apr-2017 - Technology & Engineering - 301 pages
This book presents research advances in intelligent transportation and smart cities in detail, mainly focusing on green traffic and urban utility tunnels, presented at the 3rd International Symposium for Intelligent Transportation and Smart City (ITASC) held at Tongji University, Shanghai, on May 19–20, 2017. It discusses a number of hot topics, such as the 2BMW system (Bus, Bike, Metro and Walking), transportation safety and environmental protection, urban utility design and application, as well as the application of BIM (Building Information Modeling) in city design. By connecting the theory and applications of intelligent transportation in smart cities, it enhances traffic efficiency and quality. The book gathers numerous selected papers and lectures, including contributions from respected scholars and the latest engineering advances, to provide guidance to researchers in the field of transportation and urban planning at universities and in related industries.

Navigation of Autonomous Tractor: Positioning and Sensors 

by Tofael Ahamed (Author)
188 pages
Publisher: LAP LAMBERT Academic Publishing (September 30, 2011)


Sensor Architecture and Task Classification for Agricultural Vehicles and Environments

Francisco Rovira-Más
Departamento de Ingeniería Rural y Agroalimentaria, Universidad Politécnica de Valencia, Camino de Vera s/n,  46022 Valencia, Spain;
Received: 20 October 2010; in revised form: 26 November 2010 / Accepted: 1 December 2010 / Published: 8 December 2010

The complexity inherent to intelligent vehicles is rooted in the selection and coordination of the optimum sensors, the computer reasoning techniques to process the acquired data, and the resulting control strategies for automatic actuators. The article proposes a sensor architecture especially adapted to cope with them. The strategy proposed groups  sensors into four specific subsystems: global localization, feedback control and vehicle pose, non-visual monitoring, and local perception. The designed architecture responds to vital vehicle tasks classified within three layers devoted to safety, operative information, and automatic actuation.

The solutions brought by the new technologies, i.e., precision farming and
agricultural robotics, seem to better match the revolution sought in farming. The incorporation of the
technologies of precision farming and agricultural robotics, into agricultural production not only benefits productivity and environmental conditions, but it also improves the working conditions of farm managers, laborers, and vehicle operators.

The farm machinery automation started as early as 1924, when Willrodt  designed a steering attachment capable of following furrows to guide a machine automatically across the field. Until the appearance of
electronics and computers, the sensing devices used to automate operations were purely mechanical. In fact, the majority of sensors used in agricultural vehicles have been related to autonomous navigation. For this purpose, the devices used both in North America  and in Europe  have been mechanical feelers, computer vision cameras, global positioning systems, geomagnetic direction sensors, laser scanners, and ultrasonic rangefinders. However, there are many other sensors of frequent use in precision agriculture such as yield monitoring estimators, soil properties probes, moisture content analyzers, and many others being developed at present. The usage of sensors in agricultural vehicles has evolved through time.

In a study of patents devoted to in-field automatic navigation, Rovira-Más found that beacons, pseudolite localization devices, and optical sensors excluding cameras were popular during the period
1985–2000, but inertial measurement units, GPS-based applications, and imaging devices became
predominant in the 2001–2008 period. The particular case of GPS can be justified by the cancellation
of selective availability in May 2000, which permitted the use of more accurate positioning data for
civilian applications.

Blackmore et al. provide a list of behaviors for an autonomous tractor, where simple processes as watching and waiting mingle with complex tasks such as route planning and navigation.

Typical agricultural vehicles weigh between 2 and 20 tons, incorporate diesel engines with a rated
power between 20 kW and 500 kW, and can reach retail prices over $300,000.

The sensor architecture proposed to meet the requirements of agricultural environments, vehicles,
and tasks is articulated around four structural subsystems: local perception, global localization, actuation and control, and data processing. The fourth subsystem, data processing, comprises the set of computers, processing units, DSPs (digital signal processors), and embedded controllers hosting decision making algorithms, receiving sensor data, and sending actuation commands according to a given software architecture. The other three subsystems incorporate a multiplicity of sensors that have been grouped and explained  in the subsections 4.1 to 4.4.

The complete automation of an agricultural vehicle involves many more functions than automatic steering. Navigation, for example, may require gear shifting, brake activation, throttle control, or differential locking. All these actions, when executed automatically, need to track the position of levers and pedals with potentiometers and encoders. An intelligent implement, for instance, needs to sense its position (up for road  traveling and headlands; down for farming) as well as the drag force incurred by the pulling vehicle (axle load cells).


A more convenient alternative to map ranges
is offered by lidar (light detection and ranging) heads, optical devices based on the principle of
time-of-flight whose beams of coherent light—usually laser—provide a way to estimate ranges with
high resolution. The main disadvantage of lidars is the need to spin the beam in order to cover the
widest possible area in front of the vehicle, typically between 180m and 270m, which requires a
mechanism permanently in rotation. The speed of this circular movement limits the real-time
capabilities of the sensor.

4.1. Sensors for Local Perception and Vicinity Monitoring
4.2. Sensors for Global Localization
4.3. Sensors for Vehicle Attitude and Motion Control
4.4. Non-visual Sensors for Monitoring Production Parameters

4.5. Onboard Integration of the Complete Sensor Network

A second battery, independent from the vehicle’s own battery, is always very helpful to preserve the desired autonomy of the diesel engine.

For many sensors, there is an advantageous, or even unique, location in the vehicle.

Taken as a whole, the actuation plan for the vehicle can follow the biology-based reactive approach of the subsumption architecture developed by Rodney Brooks , or on the contrary it may include a cognitive engine inside the Actuation Layer.

Mechatronics and Intelligent Systems for Off-road Vehicles

Francisco Rovira Más, Qin Zhang, Alan C. Hansen
Springer Science & Business Media, 30-Nov-2010 - Technology & Engineering - 277 pages

Rapid developments in electronics over the past two decades have induced a move from purely mechanical vehicles to mechatronics design. Recent advances in computing, sensors, and information technology are pushing mobile equipment design to incorporate higher levels of automation under the concept of intelligent vehicles. Mechatronics and Intelligent Systems for Off-road Vehicles introduces this new concept, and provides an overview of the recent applications and future approaches within this field. Real examples are provided of vehicles designed to move in off-road environments, including agriculture, forestry, and construction machines. These examples describe and illustrate features such as automatic steering, safeguarding, and precision agriculture capabilities.

Mechatronics and Intelligent Systems for Off-road Vehicles will be of great interest to professional engineers and researchers in vehicle automation, robotics, and the application of artificial intelligence to mobile equipment. 


Control of Autonomous Tractor
Master's Thesis at Ørsted•DTU, Automation
March 31st, 2006
Authors:Asbjørn Mejnertsen, Anders Reske-Nielsen

Company and Specific Product Based Developments

Mahindra Showcases its First Ever Driverless Tractor in India
September 19, 2017

Developed at Mahindra Research Valley in Chennai, Driverless Tractor technology set to take farm mechanization to new heights



Driverless Tractor set to make farming more productive & profitable, reduce health hazard for farmers and change the future of food production
This technology is designed to enable tractors to perform a variety of farming applications & operate varied implements
The tractor equipped with this technology can be programmed to carry out specific tasks & can also be operated remotely to perform in the field
To be available commercially from early 2018, in a phased manner

Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd., 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.

This innovation will change the future of farming by increasing productivity, leading to increased food production to feed the growing needs of the world. This innovative mechanization for the global farming community, in line with Mahindra's Farming 3.0 proposition.

Rajesh Jejurikar, President, Farm Equipment Sector, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. said, “Today the need for farm mechanisation is higher than ever before, due to labour shortage and the need to improve productivity and farm produce yield. Coupled with our ‘DiGiSENSE’ technology that we launched last year, the driverless tractor offers a distinct advantage to the Indian farmer by bringing an unprecedented level of intelligence to the tractor”.

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.,  Mahindra plans to offer the driverless tractor technology across its range of tractors from 20 HP to 100 HP over a period of time.

Unique Features of the Driverless Tractor

The pioneering driverless tractor is equipped with state-of-the-art technology and boasts of several unique features:

Auto steer – 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.

Safety Features

In addition, the driverless tractor is also equipped with some unique safety features as below:

Geofence lock - Prevents tractor from going outside the boundaries of the farm

Control via Tablet User Interface – Enables the farmer to program 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 STOP if needed in cases of emergency

With the deployment of this technology on Mahindra tractors, the farmers can work their fields for long hours without exposing themselves to harsh weather or difficult operating conditions. They can also protect themselves from potential health hazards resulting from operations like insecticide spraying which now can be done without human intervention. It will also ensure better quality and consistency in farming operations, leading to higher productivity and farm produce yields.



New Holland Fiat (India) launched the GPS and the GPRS technologies on its tractors under
the name of "Sky Watch" in 2012.  This technology will enable farmers to monitor and trace their tractors'' health and performance for better control and
maintenance, easy operations, and improved productivity. Tractor owners  can know the hourly
usage, performance parameters, and the maintenance when the tractor is rented out.

Automating Agriculture

Internet Of Things Based Innovative
Agriculture Automation Using AGRIBOT
SSRG International Journal of Electronics and Communication Engineering - (ICRTECITA-2017) - Special Issue - March 2017

Agricultural Automation: Fundamentals and Practices
Qin Zhang, Francis J. Pierce
CRC Press, 19-Apr-2016 - Science - 411 pages

Agricultural automation is the core technology for computer-aided agricultural production management and implementation. An integration of equipment, infotronics, and precision farming technologies, it creates viable solutions for challenges facing the food, fiber, feed, and fuel needs of the human race now and into the future. Agricultural Automation: Fundamentals and Practices provides a comprehensive introduction of automation technologies for agriculture.

From basics to applications, topics in this volume include:

Agricultural vehicle robots and infotronic systems
Precision agriculture, with its focus on efficiency and efficacy of agricultural inputs and the spatial and temporal management of agricultural systems
Specific agricultural production systems, including those related to field crops, cotton, orchards and vineyards, and animal housing and production
Automation relative to specific inputs in agricultural production systems, such as nutrition management and automation, automation of pesticide application systems, and automated irrigation management with soil and canopy sensing
Liability issues with regard to surrounding awareness and worksite management
Postharvest automation—perhaps the most advanced component of agricultural production in terms of automation and an important factor in global agriculture
Agricultural mechanization, one of the top ranked engineering accomplishments in the past century, has created revolutionary change in crop production technology and made it possible to harvest sufficient products to meet the population’s continuously growing needs. Continued progress is essential to the future of agriculture. This book provides an up-to-date overview of the current state of automated agriculture and important insight into its upcoming challenges.

Agricultural Mechanization and Automation - Volume I
Front Cover
Paul McNulty, Patrick M. Grace
EOLSS Publications, 28-Jul-2009 - Technology & Engineering - 518 pages
0 Reviews

Agricultural Mechanization and Automation is a component of Encyclopedia of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Engineering and Technology Resources in the global Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems (EOLSS), which is an integrated compendium of twenty one Encyclopedias.

The mechanization of farming practices throughout the world has revolutionized food production, enabling it to maintain pace with population growth except in some less-developed countries, most notably in Africa. Agricultural mechanization has involved the partial or full replacement of human energy and animal-powered equipment (e.g. plows, seeders and harvesters) by engine-driven equipment. The theme on Agricultural Mechanization and Automation cover six main topics:  Technology and Power in Agriculture; Farm Machinery; Facilities and Equipment for Livestock Management; Environmental Monitoring; Recovery and Use of Wastes and by-Products; Slaughtering and Processing of Livestock, which are then expanded into multiple subtopics, each as a chapter.  These two volumes are aimed at the following five major target audiences: University and College students Educators, Professional practitioners, Research personnel and Policy analysts, managers, and decision makers and NGOs.


J. De Baerdemaeker, H. Ramon, and J. Anthonis
K.U. Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
H. Speckmann , and A. Munack
Federal Agricultural Research Centre(FAL), Braunschweig, Germany

Updated 2018 - 10 March 2018, 27 February

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Concurrent Industrial Engineering

Concurrent Industrial Engineering
Concurrent Industrial Engineering is possible. IEs have to go into product development, process development,

pilot  plant design and first commercial plant design and make them more productive.

When industrial engineers work with the technologies under development and make them more productive even as

pilot plants and first commercial plants, we can say concurrent IE is taking place.

A technology under development - Artificial Photosynthesis - Bionic Leaf - Research and Development

Interesting on concurrent engineering