Why consider autonomous agriculture?
Skilled farm labour is becoming harder to find every year, the capital cost of new equipment is extremely high, and used equipment depreciates quickly. Standardized autonomous power units are the ideal solution—they reduce labour costs and are less costly to purchase.
Equipment design is simplified by using more of, but smaller implements without the limitation of skilled labour. This, combined with the standardization of power platforms, provides significant capital cost advantages per acre while lowering the risk of equipment depreciating.Imagine spending more time out of the cab, knowing that tasks are still being accomplished with absolute precision.
How is DOT powered?
DOT is powered by an efficient 163 HP Cummins diesel engine, which drives four hydrostatic pumps (one for each wheel) and an auxiliary pump for implement operation. The power from each hydrostatic pump is transferred to its designated wheel via hydraulic hose. Each wheel has a hydraulic motor running a planetary gear box that can power the unit smoothly at any speed, from creeping to 12 MPH.
How does DOT navigate?
In fields, DOT operates within prescribed, farmer-approved routes that are generated through the simple creation of highly accurate boundaries. Positional information from an RTK GPS receiver mounted on DOT ensures it is always operating within the approved area. If DOT drifts from its path, it will halt movement and send a message to the operator.
How does DOT steer?
DOT primarily travels in two directions. The first is for implement loading and road transport. Transport width is 12 feet with most implements. The second direction is perpendicular to the first, and is used for field operation. Switching travel directions takes about 10 seconds.
DOT steers with the use of four position-sensing hydraulic cylinders (one on each wheel). The position of each cylinder is continually monitored and adjusted by DOT. This allows for perfect turning using four-wheel steering, all while under full power with each wheel matching the travel speed requirement for its location on the curve.
How is DOT controlled?
There are two modes of controlling DOT.
- DOT can be manually controlled through handheld remote. The remote is used to load and unload implements (although this may eventually be done automatically). This remote manual control is also ideal for moving or operating equipment that is not programed to operate autonomously, such as material handling or other close quarters operations.
- Full autonomous mode is used once the unit is in a field for which a path plan has been downloaded to the on-frame computer. In autonomous mode, the unit simply follows the pre-approved path for the specific field. The operator can view progress, take over controls, or stop the unit through long-range Wi-Fi via a designated tablet. On-board cameras assist the farmer in making decisions or remotely viewing performance.
What can DOT do?
DOT loads any implement that is designed as DOT Ready and powers it for work functions that are executed either remotely or autonomously.
What can’t DOT do?
Every job that can be completed with a tractor will one day be completed with DOT.
Who will service DOT?
The limited release will be serviced and supported directly by Dot Technology’s mobile and remote support service team.
What colour is DOT?
As shown, DOT is black with stainless steel accents.
Will I require specialized training to operate DOT?
All owners and operators will be required to attend hands-on and classroom training prior to operating DOT in the field. Dates and locations will be communicated when you receive confirmation of delivery date.
Will you make other sizes of DOT?
As the product evolves, other configurations will be considered that better fit those areas of the world with smaller landholdings and transport dimension requirements.
How does DOT fit various farm sizes?
Seeding and harvesting are the most important farm activities. We have selected the size and horsepower for one DOT power unit to efficiently seed the same land area that is typically harvested by one large combine in western Canada (2,000 to 3,500 acres). Larger farms would simply use multiple DOTs to match their acreage accordingly. Each DOT unit can be conveniently outfitted with a grain cart at harvest time to efficiently and autonomously transport grain from one combine to the truck. Spraying is another important farm activity. One DOT with a sprayer implement mounted can easily spray twice the large combine harvest area. With DOT, all implements become cheaper to operate, but the cost-efficiency of a sprayer unit is simply astounding compared to a self-propelled sprayer. Plus, it doesn’t require an operator, and that means more time for family, more time to keep the farm organized and less time in the cab.
How fast can DOT travel?
DOT can travel up to 12 mph (19.3 km/h).
Is DOT safe from hackers?
Yes. DOT contains many features that overlap to create security redundancy in all areas.
Can DOT get stuck? And if so, what is the U-shape structural integrety like for towing?
DOT analyzes slippage and mud sinking measurements every second and will trigger a stop if results are beyond preselected limits. If stuck, there are designated tow hook locations that result in a much stronger structure than any traditional air seeder frame. When any implement is attached to DOT, the overall frame becomes very strong for excellent structural rigidity. With time, other sensors will be introduced to avoid these sticky situations, but getting stuck should be a less common occurrence than with human control, as emotions are removed (I think I can, I think I can). To prevent stresses and add traction in varying terrain, DOT has a large walking beam connecting two of the wheels that helps equalize ground forces.
Can DOT operate safely on farm roadways?
The long-term plan is to prove to road authorities that DOT, while being operated autonomously, will be safer than operator-in-tractor pulling large farm implements. Farmers will create precise road path plans in each direction, as well as map a safe pull-over zone. When a vehicle is detected approaching from any direction, DOT would simply come to a stop in the safe pull-over zone until the vehicle has passed. Until this becomes a reality, the operator can use manual controls where it is safe, or transport on a trailer. We also plan to develop a “Follow Me” feature, through which a farmer can lead a train of electronically interconnected DOT units from his truck.
Why would I choose DOT instead of a tractor?
To create traction for a tractor to pull an implement, the tractor must be very heavy or add ballast, an inherent waste of horsepower and a very inefficient method of power transfer. A significant amount of energy is being used simply to move the tractor. By integrating the implement weight on top of the power unit, DOT ensures a compact unit with very efficient power transfer.
Where is DOT being built?
DOT is currently being built under contract by our sister company, SeedMaster Manufacturing, near Regina, Saskatchewan.
When and where can I buy DOT?
This year, a prototype unit is powering a seeder, sprayer, land roller, and grain cart on research farm fields. In 2018, a limited release will be made available to select farms in Saskatchewan directly from Dot Technology Corp. Based on the performance of the limited release, production will ramp up significantly and distribution will be broadened. If you are interested in being one of the first to own a DOT Power Platform, please go to SeeDotRun.com and sign up to receive updates.
What implements can DOT handle?
Over 100 implements could be made DOT Ready™. For example, some of the DOT Ready implements SeedMaster is manufacturing include a 30’ air seeder, 60’ sprayer with 1,000 gallon tank, 41’ land roller, and a 500 bushel grain cart.
Will other manufacturers supply DOT Ready implements?
Yes! Dot Technology Corp™ actively encourages all manufacturers to adapt their technology to become DOT Ready™. There are minor costs for the transfer of technical information and training, as well as registration and updates to current software. However, attaining DOT Ready designation, and integrating their product with the world’s most technically advanced power platform, offers manufacturers incredible potential gains in new markets.
How are implements loaded and unloaded?
The DOT platform includes four hydraulically activated arms that lift the implement and secure it to DOT’s receiving and centering dowels. Once lifted, the implement and DOT move as one. Loading most implements from the ground takes just 12 seconds once in the loading position. Then, simply connect two hydraulic supply hoses, a drain hose and one or two electrical connectors and you’re ready to hit the field. Implements typically do not require wheels, axles, or hitches.
Can I build my own implement?
Implement integration is open to anyone and is governed by an application, acceptance, and certification process. Please contact info@SeeDotRun.com for more information.
About Dot Technology Corp.
What is Dot Technology Corp.?
Dot Technology Corp. is an independent company that designed the DOT Power Platform. SeedMaster, a sister company, will manufacture DOT on a contract basis until a separate plant becomes viable.
What positions DOT to succeed in the autonomous agriculture space?
Dot Technology doesn’t have to try to fit the farm of tomorrow into an existing structure because it isn’t tied to a legacy manufacturing base and specific dealer network. The corporation is truly able to reimagine the best scenario from a farmer’s perspective.
Is Dot Technology Corp. and DOT part of SeedMaster?
They are separately operated sister companies that share common ownership.
™DOT Power Platform, ™DOT Transition and ™DOT Ready are trademarks of Dot Technology Corp. © 2017