October 13, 2023
Technology is flowing toward improving grain harvest and handling efficiency in a practical way. Some expected Raven to go commercial by now with its autonomous grain cart harvest strategy. The company demonstrated much earlier that a tractor pulling a grain cart could operate without a driver, even catching corn from the combine unloading on-the-go.
Instead, Raven introduced a different concept at the fall fam shows. It’s harvest assisted by automation, but it’s not a fully autonomous option. An operator is still in the tractor pulling the grain cart. However, the combine operator can take control of that tractor. The driver of the tractor pulling the cart can go hands-free and become an observer.
Why go this route instead of full autonomy? Raven spokespeople say most farmers are ready for automation but not yet fully comfortable with complete autonomy. Having a live person in the cab capable of retaking control by grabbing the wheel seems to lessen fears, they note. They acknowledge that full autonomy will come along in time.
Cost is also a factor. If GPS is already in place, this new automation option costs about $5,000 per cab. Raven is referring to this new option as a third-level pathway for guidance which increases harvest efficiency. They assure people that the end goal for the future is still a tractor that pulls the grain cart on its own.
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