New Holland's NHDrive tractor

New Holland's NHDrive tractor New Holland's NHDrive tractor
New Holland's NHDrive tractor New Holland's NHDrive tractor
New Holland's NHDrive tractor New Holland's NHDrive tractor
New Holland's NHDrive tractor New Holland's NHDrive tractor

New Holland's self-driving NHDrive tractor gives a glimpse into the world of unmanned vehicles that could potentially change the future of agriculture

Recently unveiled at the Farm Progress Show in the United States, the New Holland NHDrive concept autonomous tractor is a driverless machine that can perform a wide range of farming tasks (day and night).

It reaches the field autonomously via private on-farm tracks to work together with other autonomous or traditional operator-controlled machines. Courtesy of the cab, it can still be driven by an operator ensuring maximum flexibility.

At the first glance, the T8 Blue Power tractor on display may have looked like a normal standard tractor to visitors at the Farm Progress. But once the first images of the video dedicated to the tractor and its operational capacities appeared on screen, everyone witnessed a glimpse into the future of farming, one that could feature fully autonomous machinery and redefine the agriculture of tomorrow.

A further evolution based on efficiency and sustainability

The New Holland NHDrive autonomous tractor has been developed by CNH Industrial in collaboration with its long-standing technology provider Autonomous Solutions Incorporated – a Utah-based company that is the industry leader in off-road autonomous solutions.

The resulting unmanned vehicle is fully autonomous and can be monitored and controlled via a desktop computer or portable tablet interface. This enables farmers to access tractor and implement data no matter where they are. This facilitates timely decision-making to enhance operational efficiency and productivity. Farmers maintain full control and ownership of their data.

A path-plotting screen shows the tractor's progress and another shows its live camera feed, providing the user with up to four real-time views (two front and two rear). A further screen enables monitoring and modification of key machine and implement parameters such as engine speed, fuel levels, and implement settings, including seeding rate or coulter downforce. The route to the field can also be planned, should this involve private roads
or tracks.

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The NHDrive concept tractor is equipped with a seeder and is able to autonomously seed the next crop straight behind the combine. Using an application installed on a portable device, the tractor and implement parameters can be continually monitored and controlled and changes can be made if necessary.

Able to work 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the tractor helps to reduce the risks associated with human error, as it follows predetermined and optimised plans for all activities. It can reach higher levels of productivity and efficiency than traditional methods. The NHDrive can make full use of the periods of favourable weather for farming operations by working day and night.
In the future, the tractor will be able to completely automate grain handling during the harvest when equipped with a trailer, including unloading, transport, and offloading activities.

Two tractors in one: maximum flexibility

The concept tractor is equipped with a cab that is completely identical to that of a standard T8. This means that it can be used for those operations where complete autonomy is not yet possible, such as front loader work and high-speed road transport.

Simply "tell it" where to go and what it has to do once it reaches its destination (via private tracks), and the tractor will get to work, either individually or in a convoy.

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The NHDrive makes full use of the advanced PLM (Precision Land Management) technology for precision farming. This Open-Connected-Smart–Supported technology is easy-to-use, is always accessible to all users, and is continuously supported by New Holland specialists.

The tractor follows optimised in-field paths, which are automatically generated by the software after having taken into account the size and shape of the field, any pre-existing obstacles, and the width of the implement to be used.

It can work alongside other autonomous machines or in tandem with machines driven by an operator.

Thanks to a combination of radar, LiDAR (range finding lasers) and RGB cameras, the NHDrive is able to detect a wide range of in-field obstacles. If an obstacle is detected, the tractor sends a message to the interactive interface, and the person responsible for the farming operations will decide if and how the tractor can avoid or bypass the obstacle.

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