How will tractor cabins evolve over the next ten years? Austrian manufacturer Steyr thinks cabs will not become bigger, but they will be quieter, equipped with better suspension and more spacious. Unlike the current cab, which is full of dials, operating terminals and loose cables. And, above all, the driver will be optimally connected to the digital farm in his mobile office.
Christian Huber, Vice President of Tractor Product Management at Steyr, thinks it will take a long time before the tractor cab disappears. “In most countries it will take decades before the phenomenon of large tractors being driven autonomously is allowed by governments and insurance companies. So yes, we think the cabin will remain an indispensable part of the tractor. ”
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This Steyr concept tractor is driven by hybrid technology. All electric wheel motors are interlinked. This modular design allows for increased flexibility for operators by providing sufficient power wherever it is needed most in any given situation. Furthermore, this tractor concept can operate with double zero emissions in a pure electric mode. The cabin is a highly capable virtual farm office, with fully integrated precision farming and connectivity solutions. A drone with special sensors is housed in the roof. It can fly in front of the tractor, for example in order to map the condition of the soil and crops in the plot. The tricky, wide side mirrors have been replaced by small cameras and always provide the driver with a perfect view to the rear and to the side of the tractor via a display in the cabin. - Photos: Steyr
Nevertheless, modern tractors do have technology that allows them to drive autonomously. This gives drivers more time for other things than just to intervene when something goes wrong. To enable operators to spend their time in a useful way, Steyr wants to ensure that the cabin is optimally connected digitally. Both with all on-board information from the tractor and the implement and for communication with the outside world. Huber: “For example, the farmer will get up-to-date local weather and be able to take action related to precision management systems.”
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The rear of the cabin has striking LED lighting. In the compact V-shaped posts, which extend from the PTO shaft to the mudguards, the hydraulic or electrical connections for the implement are also conveniently arranged and easy accessible.
An oval-shaped steering wheel that looks a bit like that of a Formula 1 car. Above and below handy buttons whose functions the driver can determine themselves. A transparent heads-up display provides any desired information, such as live images from the drone.
The cabin itself is also connected to the tractor in a smarter way. For example, the cab suspension system works together with the front axle suspension, the damping of the hitching system (front and rear) and the seat suspension.
As a result, the driver of the future virtually ‘floats’ across the field. In the meantime he or she can talk undisturbed to an employee who has a problem. Because, partly thanks to fully electric drive systems, cabs are also becoming much quieter. “We think that a whisper-quiet 65 dB (A) is very feasible,” says Huber.
A smart projector in the roof projects all required information in the windscreen or in the right window. This without obstructing the view. This so called heads-up information system can even adjust this automatically, depending on which direction the driver is looking at.
The seat can rotate 360 degrees. When the driver enters the cab, the seat automatically turns towards him, so that he can sit comfortably. Also note the tidy floor, the long steering column and the glass in the roof.