As AUDI, BMW, Ford and even Google talk about driverless cars in the next five years, a North Dakota company is marketing the idea for agriculture.
Intended for use in vineyards or compact orchards, the tractor is notable for its four-wheel steering system, allowing easier operation in tight confines, because of a tighter turning circle, while still maintaining the same track and wheelbase dimensions of a typical “conventional” tractor.
A new rear axle design means the rear wheels can now achieve a 20 degree “steering” angle, that works in conjunction with an electronic control unit to offer three different operating modes.
The operator can select Proportional Steering, that as the name suggests, works in proportion to the front axle to reduce turning radius, without affecting the tractors overall stability. Crab Steering can be selected to help maintain a straight course when traversing sloping ground or operating in difficult tight spaces.
Delayed mode causes the rear axle to work in proportion to the front, with a slight delay, while the angle of the rear wheels can also be manipulated manually throughout the operating range. As one would expect, the axle can also be locked at any angle, with straight-ahead for road travel.
Fitted with an “in-hose built CVT transmission, the Frutteto can be operated at precise speeds to suit the task at hand, with the additional benefits of cruise control and reduced engine speeds offering considerable fuel savings.
Additionally, the tractor can be optioned with a hydro-pneumatic front axle suspension system dubbed “ActiveDrive” offering improved operator comfort and increased traction in difficult terrain.
Obviously impressing the event ‘s judges, the Frutteto CVT came away with a gong, in the shape of the Best Specialised Tractor of the Year 2019.