World’s first tractor that communicates with cars demonstrated at ETSI IoT event


In a move to reduce the number of collisions between farm vehicles and other road users and help improve traffic safety in rural areas, the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) has demonstrated the world’s first tractor that communicates with cars.

Every year, almost 400 fatal accidents are caused in Europe by farm vehicles that are not clearly visible on the road, especially in rural areas. Drivers are surprised by tractors traveling at much lower speeds than their car, and occupying the entire width of the road, which means that the drivers cannot take evasive action or brake in time.

Constructors of farm machinery are trying to mitigate these risks by halving the number of fatal accidents by 2035. The new Tractor-to-Vehicle (T2V) communications system is one of the 11 demonstrations on show at ETSI’s annual IoT (Internet of Things) event, which is currently taking place at the Sophia Antipolis technology park in Southern France, on October 22-26.

The demonstration on show at the ETSI IoT event is made up of a John Deere tractor and the communications platform from the French-developed Sensinov Global IoT Platform. Both partner companies are ETSI members, and their exhibit shows how the two vehicles communicate using visual and sound signals to give warning of their presence to each other, at a distance of up to 0.6 miles (1km).

In order to avoid the collisions that frequently occur during both day and night in rural areas, the tractor sends the warning messages to other road vehicles using a communication protocol standardized by ETSI as part of the organization’s oneM2M partnership project.

“The European Commission wanted to improve road safety between farm vehicles and other vehicles. We responded to this demand by equipping our tractors with modems,” explained Christophe Gossard, head of European regulatory affairs at John Deere.

“But, more importantly, the different road-going vehicles and their means of communication had to be interoperable. So, it was only natural for us to join ETSI, the only European standardization organization with the necessary experience in these areas.”

As one of only three bodies officially recognized by the EU as a European Standards Organization (ESO), ETSI’s director general, Luis Jorge Romero, commented, “ETSI is renowned for its telecommunications standards, but since we started working on 5G and the Internet of Things, we have welcomed some new actors into our groups.

“They are from the worlds of agriculture, smart cities, e-health and connected transport. Today, information and communication technologies include all the smart equipment that we find every day, both at home and at work.”

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Adam joined the company in 1994, and has been News Editor of TTT since 2009. In his other role as Circulation Manager, he helped create the original Traffic Technology International distribution list 23 years ago, and has been working on it ever since. Outside of work, he is a keen fisherman, runs a drumming band, and plays an ancient version of cricket.