Case IH and Raven Industries introduce the agriculture industry’s first autonomous spreader, the Case IH Trident 5550 applicator with Raven Autonomy, according to a company press release. 

Unveiled at Farm Progress Show 2022, the equipment targets demand for autonomous equipment to help solve labor challenges and increase productivity.

“This is a significant milestone in our accelerated product development efforts between Case IH and Raven, highlighting our intense collaboration and robust product innovation following CNH Industrial’s acquisition of Raven in late 2021,” said Case IH brand president Scott Harris.

The autonomous model of the Trident 5550 includes driverless technology and agronomically designed spreading platform. The technology stack is powered by guidance and steering, propulsion control, perception, and path planning software developed by Raven.

“The core of today’s ag tech is rooted in Raven’s customer-centric approach: simplifying farming processes to gain tremendous efficiencies,” said Raven general manager Eric Shuman.

Operators can plan and complete an entire field operation from a mobile phone based on mapped field boundaries. The Raven Autonomy perception system uses cameras and radar to sense a 360-degree environment around the machine for obstacles and motion initiation while operating. With artificial intelligence, Raven’s perception controller processes the continuous stream of images, which interprets and detects obstacles. The remote operator can view the cameras through the mobile device at any time.

If an obstacle is detected, the machine will safely come to a stop and an alert will pop up on the mobile device. From there, the operator can evaluate the situation and determine the next course of action. A variety of machine tasks and functions can be viewed remotely through the mobile device, including but not limited to fuel level, Diesel Exhaust Fluid level, speed, revolutions per minute (RPM), bin-level status, Universal Terminal information and diagnostic trouble codes.

The implement comes as a result of ongoing research following the Case IH autonomous concept vehicle launch in 2016. Findings concluded that spraying is among the most utilized autonomous tasks that customers would adopt. 

The autonomous Trident 5550 allows for one or more driverless machines in the field without an operator present in the cab, providing the flexibility of full control inside or outside the cab. By operating at a constant speed and with precision, the autonomous applicator provides consistency — with no human error — and allows for repeatable performance with sub-inch accuracy.   

“The Case IH Trident 5550 applicator with Raven Autonomy allows us to do more work in tight time frames, run our operation efficiently and combat operator fatigue — it’s a huge benefit,” said Brady Fahlman, owner/operator of Fahlman Acres in Holdfast, Saskatchewan, Canada. “Autonomous equipment can perform a consistent job each time, which is very important to me, as we’ve built our farm’s reputation on being flawless and doing high-quality work.”

The autonomous Trident 5550 applicator will be operating in the North American market with limited availability in 2023.

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