Kinze Manufacturing unveiled autonomous row-crop technology to its dealers and media at an event held near Williamsburg, IA. This is the first such robotic technology introduced in the U.S. for row crops.
The technology allows robotic control of vehicles. In the example shown by Kinze, a tractor pulling a grain cart was operated robotically to allow grain to be unloaded precisely and efficiently from the combine into the cart.
Kinze also tested this technology to plant.
Here's how it works: The equipment is driven to a field and then allowed to operate robotically. An operator in another vehicle can give commands to the equipment. For example, a combine operator tells the grain cart to come to the combine for loading grain. The cart and tractor pull in parallel to the combine and maintain that position as grain is unloaded into it on-the-go. When the combine is empty, the operator tells the tractor and cart to return to a predetermined location until the combine needs to unload again.
The robotic equipment has technology like GPS and sensors to keep it from running into other equipment.
The technology Kinze is using was developed by Jaybridge Robotics, Cambridge, MA. The company reports that it serves commercial, government/military and university clients. It provides software and engineering design consulting services to the robotics industry.
Kinze has been testing the equipment with Jaybridge for two years. See a video of the robotic operation of the tractor at www.jaybridge.com. Or view a Farm Press interview with Kinze Chief Operating Officer Brian McKown, in which he discusses the Kinze Autonomy Project, at www.deltafarmpress.com.
The technology is not yet available for purchase from Kinze.