Inside Unmanned Systems

JUN-JUL 2017

Inside Unmanned Systems provides actionable business intelligence to decision-makers and influencers operating within the global UAS community. Features include analysis of key technologies, policy/regulatory developments and new product design.

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22 unmanned systems inside   April/May 2017   June/July 2017 Photos courtesy of CNH Industrial. INFRASTRUCTURE COMMUNICATIONS CNH Industrial's Case IH Magnum Autonomous Concept Tractor in the field with the Case IH Early Riser 2150 Planter. L ast year, CNH Industrial's Innovation Group released concept autonomous tractor technology to give farmers a peek into what the future might hold. The company introduced two versions: a Case IH Magnum without a cab and a New Holland T8 NH Drive with a cab. The version with the cab is more representative of what could be offered on eventually commercialized autonomous tractors and also provides more operating flexibility. Auto-steering and telematics are already available on today's tractors, but the concept tractors take that technology much further. Using GPS in conjunction with accurate satellite correction signals for precise guidance and immediate recording and transmission of field data, the autonomous tractor concept allows for remote deployment, monitoring and control of the machines. "It doesn't represent a tractor we're specifically working on; it's an expression of technology and what tractors could look like in the future," said Brad Lukac, who manages the autonomous technology programs for CNH Industrial. "We wanted to stir the debate regarding autonomous vehicles in the agriculture space and try to gage customer and industry feedback." CNH Industrial is also working on adding autonomy to its current vehicles, and through that process is developing what Lukac calls spin off features that farmers can use today. For example, CNH Industrial vehicles now can independently perform end-of-road turns, making the entire turning process completely hands off. Lukac expects more of these types of features to be released as the company continues to look for ways to incorporate automation into their vehicles. CNH INDUSTRIAL'S CONCEPT AUTONOMOUS TRACTORS The security robots are more effective than video cameras, Ryzhenko said, and he expects them to become the norm in the next five years. "Security cameras are good for future investigation but they're not good for protection," Ryzhenko said. "The robots are much more proactive. The robots can be trained to rec- ognize different types of intruders, whether they're running, hiding or behaving strangely. They can recognize people's faces, uniforms and cars." The robots are integrated with Milestone Systems Software and have one control center, Ryzhenko said. They move inde- pendently—no human interaction is required. When their bat- teries run low, they return to the charging station for a boost and then head back to their patrol area. Agriculture Farming is one of the industries that could benefit most from UGVs. These platforms can be used for just about anything typically done using a tractor including spraying, mowing and tilling, Torrie said, with his systems offering advanced path- generating algorithms to calculate efficient row coverage pat- terns for spraying and mowing. Because they're ground based, these vehicles also can provide more complete crop evaluations, Scheib said. Drones are often deployed to obtain the view from overhead, but they typically can't see what's below the leaves. Like mining operations, farms are facing labor shortages, Torrie said. The fact children just aren't coming back to work on family farms any more, combined with the increase in mini- mum wage and recent moves to tighten U.S. borders, makes it difficult for some farms to stay staffed—to the point that har- vests are being threatened. Brad Lukac, who manages the autonomous technology pro- grams for CNH Industrial, expects larger corporate opera- tions to invest in UGVs first. These mega farms will start using UGVs for the tasks they perform every day, such as mowing and spraying between vines in a vineyard, to realize the highest return on investment (ROI). From there, company leaders will look to implement UGVs in other applications we probably haven't even thought of yet. Smaller operations will begin to follow suit as they realize the benefits, Lukac said, which include the ability to make better use of unskilled labor. "It doesn't necessarily mean we're taking the operator out of the vehicle," Lukac said. "But in the future, as we do start to take

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