aroma:id participated in the Design Challenge 2018 of the tractor manufacturer Valtra from Finland. The concept CENTAUR was rated among the top five designs of 107 submissions and received an "Honorable Mention". The jury found that the car aspiring design was "maybe a bit too delicate" but, nevertheless, the tractor left a lasting impression and was praised especially for its "amazing tires and the andvanced suspension".
CENTAUR - At home on all terrains
CENTAUR is a modular farming vehicle that meets all requirements of a regular tractor while at the same time offering the highest possible degree of suitability for daily use. The vehicle provides ideal driving qualities on the field while simultaneously feeling at home on the road without making the typical compromises regarding speed and driving comfort. In order to accomplish this, the dimensions of the chassis as well as the position and the orientation of the driver’s cabin can be adjusted to meet the respective needs. Moreover, an innovative system makes it possible to adjust the tire tread in order to provide optimal driving characteristics on different surfaces.
Natural circumstances such as growing cycles of field crops, in particular, determine how frequently workings are done in the field throughout the year. During the winter months tractors can hardly be put to good use and remain parked in the shed. Machinery for farming purposes does take up a significant amount of storage space that has to be provided by the farmer. At the same time it can be observed that the number as well as the dimensions of fields are increasing and with them the action scope of the farmer. This in turn means that the farmer has to cover long distances in order to get to the field, regarding that it becomes more and more important for farmers to be able to reach urban destinations, like their homes for example, without lowering their sights concerning travel speed or comfort. Due to increasing networking and delocalizatin the farmer’s job is evolving into a managerial profession that requires centralized control of huge agricultural areas.
CENTAUR makes it possible to control the vehicle the traditional way while at the same time offering the possibility to transform the interior in order to meet different demands. This is accomplished through a highly flexible seating configuration and a driver’s cabin that can be moved along a rail system on the chassis. This in turn guarantees the best possible view for the driver regardless of the attachment that is used at the front or rear side of the tractor. Also the overall length of the vehicle can be changed in this way, which allows for an improved level of traction through an optimized positioning of the connection points with the respective attachment.
CENTAUR does not necessarily have to be steered by a human driver sitting in the driver’s cabin. The chassis can be remotely controlled and also drive autonomously as a single unit or as part of an automated group of vehicles. In order to do so the vehicle does not only communicate intelligently with other vehicles but also benefits from its highly flexible mechanics. By way of example, the level control of the vehicle allows for connecting to different accessory equipment.
Tractors have to guarantee a high level of stability and traction for field work. Furthermore, they have to cover substantial distances on public roads to and between fields. The different affordances of the driving surfaces can only be met by making compromises. CENTAUR, however, is able to master the challenges of both surfaces thanks to its adaptive chassis and the transformable tire system. On the road the tractor uses a narrower tread and an elongated wheelbase. For even surfaces the tire tread is low-slung which allows for a high level of ride comfort. That way the tractor can comfortably move at higher speeds than a regular tractor and reduce the number of instances a tractor hampers other road users. Yet, when work begins, CENTAUR transforms into the ideal field vehicle. The suspensions of the rear tires which are installed in a slightly angular V-shape are extended sideways and broaden the wheel space of the vehicle which ensures more stability. Simultaneously the wheel base of the tractor is reduced which provides a higher level of agility.
The wheel suspension offers several electronically controlled axial movements between chassis and wheels. The outer lever of the rear wheels can be positioned in a way that the vehicle can easily be maneuvered along steep slopes. The last connection point of the wheel suspensions makes it possible to always keep the wheels vertical. The flexibility and high level of freedom of movement of the wheel suspension allows not only for a comfortable level control but also for a long spring travel. Modern sensor technology ensures an undreamed of level of comfort in the field. The similarly adaptive beam axle at the front of the vehicle enhances the cross-country mobility of CENTAUR.
As designers we aspire to shape the future. In order to do so we like to explore interesting current topics and examine the latest solution approaches to problems in various fields. Our innova¬tion concepts strive to create an avant-garde scenario for future design opportunities.
If you like to learn more about our FutureLAB please do not hesitate to contact us.