Ag Informer – Trials on autonomous planter in progress – Mix 94.7 KMCH

Salin 247’s 2022 self-contained electric drive unit prototype, ready for planting, provides the ability to switch between planting, spraying and side dressing with a lighter footprint and improved cost effectiveness compared to the traditional rear-wheel-drive equipment.

by Dan Crummett, Farm equipment magazine

Iowa startup Salin 247 is field testing a self-contained electric drive unit for planting in fields in Iowa and Tennessee. The prototype machine also offers post-emergence capabilities for spraying and side dressing.

With a long background in agriculture and degrees in agronomy and economics, Dave Krog says he’s trying to reduce the variable and fixed costs of today’s capital expenditures with a self-contained electric drive unit aimed directly at the 24 row planter.

“Our goal is to make this type of solution less expensive than current technology,” says Krog. “By eliminating the tractor and heavy sprayer, we can leverage our undercarriage and chassis for many operations.”

Doing business as Salin 247, in Ames, Iowa, Krog and his engineer son have run their first two-track prototype robot in Iowa in 2021 and plan to have the second upgraded version of the machine for planting soybeans. and corn in Iowa and Tennessee this spring.

The 2022 trial version consists of 4 individually powered electric track units mounted on the corners of a rectangular steel toolbar frame. The drive unit contains a 48 volt, 100 amp (10 kWh) lithium iron phosphate battery along with RTK GPS navigation equipment and 2020 precision planting equipment and software. The machine uses cameras and computer vision for safety and obstacle detection. Additionally, the Krogs are also testing on-board radar technology.

The 4-row prototype is designed to plant at 5.5 mph and carry spray and side-treating capabilities up to 10 mph.

“We could put in speed tubes for planting, but we want to prove our design at slower speeds first,” Krog says. “For post-emergence work, our unit is slower than larger rigs, but we anticipate a time when many of our drive units could do the work of larger machines at lower cost – and because they are lighter and equipped with artificial vision, they can enter the field more quickly after a rain and work in all lighting conditions.

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