Steyr concept: Monster tractor with an accompanying drone
The Steyr concept shows the tractor of the future. The electrically operated monster has four independent motors in the wheel hubs, can drive largely autonomously and work in the field. On top of that, it received the Good Design Award 2020 in January 2021 for its outstanding design and the integration of future-oriented technologies.
The concept vehicle from Steyr has a modular hybrid drive with an additional combustion engine, but could also be produced with a purely electric drive. There is also a generator on board to generate electricity. The energy requirements of these machines are enormous. With current battery technology, they can hardly be powered for hours in practice. However, the following solution is also conceivable: Power connections are laid in the fields and the machine pulls a cable behind it when it is working (read: “Drones, robots and combine harvesters with power cables – this is what Farm 4.0 looks like”). The Steyr concept currently relies on a generator to generate electricity, so ultimately the energy comes from combustion. The battery can only provide power to the tractor for a short time.
Steyr concept – this is what the future of tractors looks like
“In purely electric operation, the Steyr concept enables emission-free driving, both in terms of exhaust gas and noise pollution,” says Steyr. “Whether for farmers or municipalities, the tractor is ideally suited for environmentally sensitive areas, for example in urban areas, near residential areas, in stables or greenhouses. Unrestricted availability is a key feature of the Steyr concept.”
The main purpose of the battery is to provide additional energy for power peaks. This means that the generator can always work in a particularly efficient speed range and the noise generated at maximum load is also drastically reduced (read: “These are the ten most powerful tractors in the world”).
No wear components
The structure of the drive sounds complicated, but Steyr is convinced that the concept will prove itself in tough everyday practice, since components that are particularly susceptible to wear are saved. “This system leads to a highly efficient, electric, stepless drive with fewer moving parts – since the mechanical gearbox and hydraulic components are no longer required – in order to achieve an optimal flow of energy with reduced power losses,” says Steyr.
The drive by the hub motors enables independent suspension of the wheels, so that the tractor is extremely off-road. At the same time, the center of gravity of the machine moves far down. The tractor hydraulics and PTO are also electrically driven. The hub motors make the concept very manoeuvrable as the wheels can turn in opposite directions.
Use with a drone
In addition to the drive technology, the cabin has also been completely reinvented and adapted to the needs of a largely autonomous machine. With all-round glazing and integrated cameras and touchscreens, the new type of cabin becomes a “digital agricultural office”, says Steyr. A display is integrated in the right-hand side window, which also shows data and measured values from the accompanying drone, plus there is a head-up display that shows the driver the vehicle information. The drone collects precise information about the field and plants, it acts as an upstream sensor station for “precision farming”. In addition, the concept looks significantly different than comparable machines. “Our ultimate goal was to create distinctive style elements that, in combination with the design of our engineers, also bring practical advantages in areas such as performance, visibility and sustainability”, says Peter Friis, Steyr Head of Commercial Operations in Europe.
Drones, robots and combine harvesters with power cables – this is what Farm 4.0 looks like
No more high-tech: vintage tractors are in great demand with US farmers
These are the ten strongest tractors in the world
Big Wind – the strongest fire department in the world