Rethinking alternative fuels
New Holland brings out its latest methane concept vehicle with a lot of new design thinking, including a redesigned nearly all-glass cab; and some unique ideas for positioning monitors.
New style catches attention
Fenders on the front of a tractor? Farmers weren't fans at first, but from the front they liked the look. Design input on concept tractors can be confusing.
The clear glass top of the cab makes this machine perfect for loader work. There's no obstruction for the operator. Some commented that heat from the sun would cause trouble, but Mark Howell, global product manager, noted that there are coatings that let the light into the cab but keep out the heat.
Cab from above
Shooting through the top of the clear glass cab you can see the wide-angle view of the tractor and the operator station. One interesting design approach is to carry the hood blue right into the cab of the tractor.
This wide-screen display with three embedded screens may be a concept but it offers some interesting opportunities. On the left is a bird's eye view of the tractor (a common feature on many cars today), in the center is machine information, and on the right is weather information coming to the Web-enabled tractor. And for this concept its possible to take an image from the widescreen and easily transfer it to a main monitor (see next slide).
New display position
One feature that caught of a lot of visitor attention at the Farm Progress Show is the location of that main monitor – in the middle of the steering wheel. This location puts information close to the operator no matter how he or she sits in the tractor. And customizing the display is easy too – at least in the concept vehicle.
The sleek lines of the control console include a multi-function joystick (the phone location is a nice add-on). That multi-function joystick is not a concept item (see next slide).
The joystick here is from a new T6 machine, showing that the concept vehicle is already incorporating existing tech for down-the-road use.
Now this is concept lighting. Of course, LED lights offer some unique ways to stand out from a design perspective. These are kind of cool at the back of the concept tractor's cab.
Alternative fuel connection
The T6 prototype that has real-world implications at New Holland is the propane-powered tractor. This connection would allow farmers to refuel from propane storage tanks.
In the field
While this propane prototype may be good for field work, it also serve another key market for New Holland – the municipal user. Either way, New Holland is focused on clean fuel tech.