Versatile announced a partnership with Mojow Autonomous Solutions on Tuesday — the two companies are teaming up on the development of Mojow’s EYEBOX autonomous navigation controller.
Engineers from both companies have been working together over the past 6 months, to integrate the system on Versatile tractors. Mojow founder and president Owen Kinch was involved in the original development of the autonomous DOT platform, which was purchased by Raven a couple years ago. So, when Versatile started looking for someone to team up with on autonomy, they identified Mojow as the perfect partner.
EYEBOX utilizes sensors and computer vision techniques to enable autonomous operations within broad-acre applications. A Versatile high horsepower, four-wheel drive tractor has been running with the EYEBOX controller in Alberta this spring and summer, completing several in-field tests and applications with promising results. I just caught up with Adam Reid, who’s the Vice President of Sales & Marketing for Versatile. He says this partnership opens the door for Versatile’s entry into the autonomy arena.
“Our involvement in autonomy is really in the infancy stages. It’s obviously a feature that we will incorporate into the tractors at some point. I don’t think it’s a secret that’s where the industry is going. For us and our customer base it’s going to be a slow lead up to that, and we wanted to find a partner that would work with us with that understanding, knowing that we’re not necessarily going to be the first company to be running tractors in the market without people in the cab. We’ll be at the table when the time is right, and we’ll have a slow progress to it. Based on our roadmap now there will be a leader follower scenario before we get to full autonomy. It's just important that we are part of that evolution as of course technology advances and continues to evolve.”
Reid says the company doesn’t necessarily have a commercial plan for EYEBOX at this point. Right now they’re focusing on an advanced engineering study. They know customers will be asking for it at some point, and they want to be ready when that time comes.