The tractor of the future will look like an ant. Or a Mars rover. Or maybe something out of Halo. Whatever it is, it’s nice to see automakers aren’t the only ones who go nuts designing wild concepts that may never see production.
To mark its 60th anniversary, the designers at Valtra came up with a concept vehicle that would make even the guys at Peugeot and Citroen look twice. The machine is called ANTS, an acronym based on actual models in the Finnish company’s lineup.
As wild as this concept might look, Valtra says the technology underpinning it will be essential if we are to feed the 9 billion people expected to inhabit the planet in 2050. We’ll need farm equipment that uses less energy, offers greater versatility and provides maximum efficiency.
Enter the ANTS.
“ANTS will rise to these future challenges, but respect Valtra traditions. It is dynamic, friendly, customizable, intelligent, agile, and light in comparison to its power,” the company said.
Yes, the company described its tractor as “friendly.”
The tractor is modular, with two components: the “solider,” with 100 kilowatts (134 horsepower) and the “worker,” with 200 kw (268 horsepower). The two components can be used individually or together — a configuration dubbed the “queen,” with articulated steering and maximum power of 400 kW (536 horsepower).
The “worker” will be autonomous, able to carry out its tasks unattended. The “solider” is fitted with a cab and electric — instead of hydraulic — actuators and controls. For those instances where the power of a hydraulic system is needed, ANTS will used a water-based system.
The operator sits in cab that rotates and can be placed almost anywhere on the module to meet specific needs. Because most tractor-related injuries occur as the operator climbs in and out of the cab, Valtra designed ANTS with a cab that can be lowered for easier access. Plus, it looks really, really cool.
This is the future, baby, so most functions are voice-activated. Everything is presented in a heads-up display on the windshield. Of course ANTS runs on electricity drawn from either a battery or a fuel cell. A hybrid — powered by biofuel, of course – is another possibility.
Hub-mounted motors provide power directly to the wheels, which ride on fully independent suspension arms. That allows the ANTS to roll over the most varied terrain while ensuring optimal traction, stability and comfort.
“It will also be easier to gain access to low and tight places with the machine, thanks to its ability to ‘curtsy’,” the company said. Cooler — and more outlandish — still, the wheels actually expand to almost twice their normal width to increase traction when necessary.
Hey — it’s a concept. It doesn’t have to actually work.
Valtra’s built a 1:5 scale model of the concept and will be showing it off at agriculture and machinery shows throughout the year.
Images and video: Valtra
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