The 5G-based remote control solution can be used to drive a tractor hundreds of miles away and can also be used where manned operations are dangerous


The remote control solution developed by Valtra and Elisa to control tractors. (Credit: Valtra Inc.)

Valtra, a Finnish agricultural machine-maker and a subsidiary of AGCO, and telecom provider Elisa have launched a new remote-controlled tractor that uses 5G network technology.

The 5G solution enables real-time, safe control and operation of a tractor hundreds of kilometres away, fitted with 5G network and a 360-degree camera.

The remote control was developed through an integrated 5G connection and a roof-mounted 350-degree camera. The network enables the remote driver’s Virtual Reality (VR) glasses to receive 4K view of the environment in real-time.

Valtra sales and marketing vice president Mikko Lehikoinen said: “Radio-controlled tractors have been in use for years, but it’s always meant staying within sight of the machine. 5G revolutionises this, as now a tractor can be driven remotely from anywhere.”

The driver can look at the tractor’s surroundings by simply turning the head. The remote control sends the signal using Elisa’s high-security 5G network.

The remote control has been designed to give feedback to the driver

When a driver controls the tractor and turns its wheels, the feedback is immediately sent to the driver, in order to give him or her feeling of driving. This can be achieved with a low latency of 5G.

Lehikoinen said: “When you drive your tractor and turn its wheels, you need to get immediate feedback to give the feeling of driving. With 5G, the low latency makes this possible.”

The 5G-based remote control is considered to be an important step towards achieving fully autonomous driving, which could become reality in the next decade for several end-users.

The remote control can be used to operate driverless tractors in challenging sites or tasks that would otherwise be dangerous in manned operations, making a tractor, even more, a versatile solution.

Elisa business development vice president Kimmo Pentikäinen said: “Elisa is a forerunner in 5G technology, both in Finland and internationally. The remote-controlled tractor that’s been developed together with Valtra and introduced at Elisa 5G Showroom has generated a lot of interest.

“5G services and solutions are going to bring efficiency and innovative new ways of operating for businesses and people.

“The remote-controlled tractor is a very real example of this, as the driver no longer needs to physically sit in the cab. We want to build a sustainable future through digitalisation, and developing 5G services is part of making that a reality.”