Tractor of the Year (TOTY) Second digital episode: The Driving Experience

The agricultural mechanization sector has been working in this field for much longer than any other conventional vehicle on the road. What does the future of these machines and the related tyres have in store for us? The episode can be seen on
New online appointment for Tractor of the Year and its digital episodes has been created in collaboration with BKT, official sponsor of the Award. After having spoken about Connectivity, the new focus is now on the Driving experience.
Guest in the studio Carlo Bellati, editor of the Italian car magazine Quattroruote, while joining online is Adam Anderson, official Monster Jam driver (the made in USA motor show sponsored by BKT) and Antonio Giovinazzi, the Italian Formula 1 driver.
There are clear differences between how you drive a car, a Monster Truck, a Formula 1 car or a tractor. But the thought-provoking suggestion has helped focus on the characteristics which “drivers” today expect when driving their vehicle.
Of a modern day vehicle its driver asks first of all for safety, but also many other conveniences, such as computerized assistance to indicate traffic, pedestrian crossings, the conditions of the asphalt, and the weather. In short, a chance for simple interaction with an artificial intelligence that can drive alongside us and that will indeed soon completely replace us.
On the contrary, an official driver of Monster Jam does everything by themselves, “encapsulated” in their cabin: “Here we are in a parallel world – stressed Adam Anderson, driver in the Monster Truck team, Grave Digger. “Safety and control are the most important characteristics in my driving experience. For us stuntmen safety means being able to count on a vehicle which is completely perfect in the smallest detail, from the engine to the tyres. Over recent years we have perfected the Monster Trucks, also thanks to the support of BKT researchers who have designed the best possible tires for us, real giants that can take us to the limits, but in complete safety and comfort, to offer the best motor show in the world.”
Safety technology is also the theme of Antonio Giovinazzi, the Italian Formula 1 driver who tells the tale of the total digitalization of the data which comes in and out in real time while driving a Formula 1 car: “An extremely sophisticated drive, which you must make an effort to adapt to, but we would never have got to this level of driving perfection in terms of performance without a fully computerized cockpit.”
Put like that, it seems that the world of tractors is far removed from all this. That is not the case. Not everyone knows that the transformation in agricultural mechanization dates back to the end of the 1980s, when the first GPS recordings were used, well before the studies carried out on other vehicles, such as cars and public transport.
Since then the tendency in agriculture has been to try out machines that could interact with the surrounding environment, such as the different types of terrain or weather, even without a human presence.
BKT is well aware of all this. Its tyres are an essential component in making agricultural machinery efficient, safe and sustainable: “The choice to focus above all on the manufacture of high performance, off-highway tyres entails detailed research work, comments Lucia Salmaso, CEO of BKT Europe. The need to create a specific design depending on the terrain so as to adapt tyre pressure for each task at hand presents us as manufacturers with complex research demands. We now have the task of guaranteeing the greatest possible control of the vehicle, to make it work with utmost efficiency, while respecting the comfort and safety of the driver. The dialogue between users and manufacturers is thus becoming incredibly important in order to achieve the required level of performance. We will soon see self-driving tractors, but the concept is still the same, data exchange, albeit digitally based, will be our best route to growth.”
Self-driving tractors seem to be a concrete and imminent reality, completely overturning the experience of driving a tractor, which it will probably be possible to drive using a remote control or an app on a tablet or smartphone.
Those dealing with Agriculture 4.0 already know this, but many will be surprised to learn that the self-driving tractor will be available in the field before any other conventional vehicle on the road. To see the episode on the Driving Experience:

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