CNH Reveals New Tech, Strategy

CNH Reveals New Automated, Autonomous Equipment and Tech Strategy to Support It

Dan Miller
By  Dan Miller , Progressive Farmer Senior Editor
CNH's driverless tillage solution features a Raven perception and remote command and control package. Tillage operations are driverless. Automated missions can be performed from a tablet. (DTN/Progressive Farmer photo by Dan Miller)

CNH Industrial laid out its technology strategy last week over two days of equipment demonstrations for financial analysts and media. CNH Tech Day at the University of Arizona's Maricopa Agricultural Center featured autonomous and alternatively fueled tractors and evidence of an aggressive investment strategy to speed delivery of new technologies to its customers.

CNH announced it has purchased a 10% minority stake in Stout Industrial Technology. Stout, a Salinas, California-based startup, is building smart implements powered by artificial intelligence (AI). CNH sees the investment as an important piece of its "see and act" work, building machines that complete automated -- and autonomous -- tasks based on sensor-detected data.

Stout's Smart Cultivator is a software-controlled implement for tractors that uses cameras, AI and vision technology to distinguish crops from weeds. Once identified, the implement simultaneously cultivates crops and removes weeds. Stout machines will soon be distributed by way of New Holland brand's dealer network.

CEO Scott Wine spoke at the Tech Days. He says the CNH tech strategy supports "customer-inspired innovation."

"We have incredibly capable, smart engineers," Wine says. "But we're listening to customers, understand how they use our products and driving that customer-inspired innovation to bring solutions we can sell, they can (use), creating value (for both)." It is a process Wine says accelerated with technologies developed by CNH newly owned Raven Industries.

For example, CNH and Raven Industries introduced the Case IH Trident 5550 applicator with Raven Autonomy this past fall. The Trident, from development to product introduction in less than a year, combines driverless technology with an autonomous spreading platform. The Trident will be operating in North America with limited availability in 2023, CNH announced last week. For more on the Case IH Trident:…

CNH sees methane and electricity as important fuels for its equipment and for its sustainability strategy. The manufacturer has partnered with Bennamann, a UK-based firm developing solutions to capture and repurpose methane emissions for energy use. CNH acquired a minority stake in Bennamann in March 2021.

Bennamann's technology converts manure and slurry into liquefied fugitive methane (LFM) for use as a biofuel. It does this by transferring manure from a dairy farm, for example, to a covered slurry lagoon or tank. There, emitted fugitive methane is captured and converted into liquefied methane.

Here are several technology pieces rolled out in Arizona:

-- Driver Assist Harvest Solution. With a Raven autonomy control, driver assist harvest allows combine operators to call an autonomous tractor with grain cart to come alongside for on-the-go unloading. When the off-load is complete, the combine operator sends the tractor-cart pair to a designated spot in the field to await another offload or deliver corn to the transfer point. CNH is demonstrating the system for Case IH and New Holland.

-- Driverless Tillage Solution. The driverless tillage solution features a Raven perception and remote command and control package. Tillage operations are driverless (see…). Automated missions can be performed from a tablet.

-- Baling Automation. CNH says its baler automation is an industry first. Unveiled as a pre-production technology for New Holland large square balers, it features a LiDAR sensor to scan the windrow for density, volume and direction. The tractor and baler use the input to control steering, forward speed and position of the baler. LiDAR is a method for determining distance and form by targeting an object with a laser.

-- T7 powered by Liquid Natural Gas (LNG). Powering a pre-production T7 270-horsepower tractor, LNG provides the same power and torque as a diesel tractor. It is more sustainable -- 98% less particulate matter and less CO2 emissions -- and carbon negative when powered by liquefied biomethane sourced from livestock manure. LNG offers eight hours of running time, even in demanding power applications, CNH says.

-- T4 Electric Tractor: CNH puts down a marker for one of the industry's first all-electric light utility tractors. Stylish and quiet (90% quieter than a comparable diesel), New Holland's all-electric T4 electric power unit is 4-wheel drive and is powered by a 75-horsepower motor (up to 120 horsepower peak power). The tractor's battery pack delivers up to a full day of operation and can be recharged in an hour. Electrical outlets on the tractor support tasks such as welding and drilling. It doubles as a backup power generator and provides energy for electric implements. The T4 Electric Power tractor's roof houses sensors, cameras and control units enabling autonomous and automated operations.

The prototype tractor combined development work at CNH facilities in the U.S. and Italy and with collaboration from Monarch Tractor -- an electrified ag innovator based in California. CNH holds a minority stake in Monarch Tractor, and the two manufacturers signed a multi-year licensing agreement in November 2021. Commercial models will be available from both New Holland and Case IH. Production is expected by the end of 2023.

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Dan Miller