Automated Mercedes trucks used for Brazilian sugar cane harvest

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Automated Mercedes-Benz trucks are being used for the first time in the Brazilian sugar cane harvest

Mercedes-Benz truck Axor 3131 for automated use in sugar cane harvesting
Mercedes-Benz truck Axor 3131 for automated use in sugar cane harvesting
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Brazilian agricultural technology manufacturer GrunnerTech and Mercedes-Benz Brazil have partnered to configure 18 Mercedes-Benz Axor 3131 trucks for automated use during sugar cane harvesting.

The Axor comes equipped with all the technological components required for automated Level 2 driving. This means that the Axor automatically controls the speed and proximity as well as longitudinal and lateral guidance.

Mercedes-Benz says that although the driver retains control of the truck at all times, hands do not have to be permanently on the steering wheel. Other features of the Axor include an additional front axle, extended tyre spacing, ‘high flotation’ tyres for agricultural use and antennas to receive satellite signals.

The interior of the Mercedes-Benz truck Axor 3131

Before work begins to harvest the crop, the harvest route is first mapped out on a computer with a "level of accuracy down to the centimetre", says Mercedes-Benz. "The automated journey is controlled via cruise control, GPS and geo-referencing. The Axor works together with a sugar cane harvester, which also drives autonomously and conveys the harvested sugar cane straight to the truck body."

The average speed is around 6 km/h. Once the Axor has been filled, the driver takes control of the truck again to transfer the goods to a vehicle with a larger capacity. One vehicle can harvest twice as much product in the same period thanks to the pre-set route guidance.

The automated Mercedes-Benz Axor operates 24 hours a day and the company says that not only are there fuel savings of up to 50 per cent, but that lubricant consumption is reduced by 40 per cent and servicing and maintenance costs by 30 per cent.

Two of these automated trucks are already in operation at Agro Cana Caiana in the fields of São Paulo, and a total of 18 vehicles will soon be sent to other Brazilian customers.

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