Raven ready to roll on with OmniDrive

Fifty Ontario farmers showed up at Haggerty Creek Ag Services last week for a demonstration of the new Raven OmniDrive autonomous tractor. Raven dealer Chuck Baresich said it was “plenty weird” to drive his combine and have a driverless tractor pull-up alongside. | Haggerty Creek Ag Services photo

Farmers can not-drive the driver-less tractor at farm shows but they can see the advantages of doing it

Raven demoed their OmniDrive autonomous technology, installed on a Case Magnum, at this month’s Farm Progress Show in Decatur, Illinois.

It gave farmers a chance to experience hands-off driving first-hand.

Titan demonstrated the OmniDrive at the Big Iron Farm Show in Fargo, N.D. this week. As the company shows off the system to producers they are making short presentations of the system, with the opportunity to take a closer look via live stream TVs inside their Raven Command Center at show events. Because in this ride and drive, there is no driving.

OmniDrive was launched in May, with a limited release of 75 aftermarket systems. Throughout this summer, Raven has been holding demonstrations. Participants get a first-hand view of the autonomous system controlling a driverless tractor pulling a grain cart and commanding it to sync with a combine.

Folks who have seen it, give it good reviews.

This is not just a simple straight-line A-to-B device. It drives the cart over to the combine and co-ordinates its position and speed with the combine.

Titan Machinery, with the largest string of Case dealerships in the world, is marketing the entire Raven line of OmniPower devices. CNH has employed Raven controllers, especially in sprayers and applicators, for about five years.

Titan and Raven have been collaborating on fine tuning the OmniDrive system for about a year. CNH has a tentative agreement to buy Raven.

Titan’s director of precision ag and machine control Jim Lilleberg said a shortage of qualified equipment operators is one of the biggest problems farmers face today.

“There are many jobs going on simultaneously in the fall. If you can employ an autonomous tractor to pull the grain cart, that frees up one person to drive a truck or catch up on fall tillage or drive a third combine,” Lilleberg said in a phone interview.

“To the best of my knowledge, this is the only autonomous system that’s actually usable and available. There’s no other product out there that can replace the operator of the grain cart. Other companies talk about driverless equipment, but they can’t sell you a system.”

He said OmniDrive is aftermarket technology that connects, manages and operates safely among people, animals and other equipment. It also recognizes unharvested crops, so equipment does not disturb them. It provides operational safety through five cameras and radars. There’s a light beacon for a visual warning that the implement is about to move, plus a horn that sounds multiple times before movement.

OmniDrive is compatible with a long list of machines, providing the implement has the correct Raven equipment:

  • Case IH Magnum CVT (2014-2020 models): M250 / 280 / 310 / 340 / 380 (available in October 2021)
  • New Holland CVT (2014-2020 models): T8.320 / 350 / 380 / 410 / 435 (available in October 2021)
  • John Deere 8Rs Powershift and IVT (2010-current models)
  • All OEM combines

According to an email interview with Raven’s Erin Rinehart, OmniDrive can be ordered now for delivery in 2022. For a machine that’s already Raven-equipped the price will be about US$55,000.

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