Part 1 of this blog addressed the different levels of autonomous driving as defined by SAE for road vehicles and introduced the topic of autonomous farming. This blog will provide additional information about autonomous farming applications as well as lift trucks. All of these areas are well-controlled environments that do not need the extensive mapping and understanding of varying traffic rules that impact autonomous road vehicles.
In 2016, Case IH developed an Autonomous Concept Vehicle to demonstrate how it would be possible to remotely monitor and control machines directly for agriculture. The concept could be applied to tillage, planting, spraying and harvesting. Since it was announced, Case IH continued to evolve the technology and improve its initial concept. In 2018, Case IH initiated a collaborating with Bolthouse Farms on an autonomous tractor pilot program. These types of real-world applications are necessary to address the unique requirements of autonomous farming.
Self-Driving Lift Truck
In Sept 2018, OTTO Motors™, a division of Clearpath Robotics, announced the launch of the OTTO OMEGA, claimed to be the world’s first truly self-driving lift truck. The lift truck can react to changes on the factory floor in real time and move around obstacles to ensure timely deliveries. In the fully autonomous mode, it can receive items to be put away, deliver parts to lineside, cross dock, transport dunnage and more. It also has a semi-autonomous mode so workers can take over more complex loading or unloading tasks. Through a centralized control system, the vehicle receives orders, reports on its status and notifies human operators of issues in real-time.