Economy

Mahindra unveils driverless tractor; launch in 2018

Mahindra unveils driverless tractor; launch in 2018”

The driverless tractor is equipped with state-of-the-art technology and boasts of several unique features like autosteer which is a Global Positioning System based technology that enables a tractor to travel along a straight line.

"We will deploy the technology on all three platforms - Novo, Jivo and Vuvo". Mahindra plans to offer the driverless tractor technology across its range of tractors from 20 HP to 100 HP over a period of time.

On the cost of driverless tractors, managing director Pawan Goenka said that product would see traction among customers only if the company can bring down the cost to under Rs 1 lakh, adding that they are working towards it. This innovation will change the future of farming by increasing productivity, leading to increased food production to feed the growing needs of the world. "We don't see any regulatory hurdles for the first two phase of this innovative product technology", he said. In the first phase, the technology would be driver assisted, followed by quasi-driverless and fully-driverless models by 2018-19, he said.

"Currently, it has a lot of imported components". Unless we increase the local content, we can not meet the cost target.

Highlighting M&M's 43% market share in the tractor segment, he said 30% of revenue came from overseas operations. "We will export this technology to the US, Japan, Turkey and Finland among other countries which have similar farming as well as cultivation activities".

"Initially, it will be rolled out in India". Then, we will scale it up and take it globally.

The tractor can also be controlled via a tablet.

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.

The tractor comes with unique features such as Global Positioning System based technology to travel along a straight line. Some of the unique features of this driverless tractor include autosteer (GPS-based technology that enables a tractor to travel along a straight line); auto-headland turn (enabling the tractor to orient itself along adjacent rows for continuous operation without any steering input from the farmer); geofence lock (preventings tractor from going outside the boundaries of the farm), etc. Goenka added that the company will be taking part in the government's tenders of electric cars, electric autorickshaws and electric buses, which will be out soon.

Remote Engine Start / Stop - Ability to stop the engine and hence, bring the tractor to a complete stop if needed in cases of emergency.

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