Developed by Dutch simulator manufacturer 3iSIMa and students at the country’s Terra agricultural schools, the tractor cab simulator on New Holland’s Agribex stand was the biggest surprise at the Belgian farm machinery show.

Supported on six forceful hydraulic cylinders, the simulator looks a lot like systems used to train commercial airline pilots. Four beamers located at each corner of the cab project real-life images onto the glazing, providing drivers with 360-degrees of virtual vision and behind the white canopy is a real New Holland T6 cab.

Unlike the Farming Simulator computer game, operators feel all bumps and bounces as if they were sitting in a real tractor. The idea is to replace the number of hours drivers spend on the road to pass the test. Terra, which also provides tractor driving lessons, reckons most students past the test after 15 hours of practical lessons in a real tractor. It is expected the simulator will replace 10 of them.

This is not only safer, but also cheaper and saves diesel. Other advantages include being able to record lessons and study them afterwards, and the simulator will also be used for precision farming education and to teach students a few fuel-saving techniques.

The total project cost of €2.4 million is subsided in the form of a €1.8 million innovation subsidy from the Dutch government. The cab simulator should be ready to receive the first students in April, when the T6’s terminal and dashboard will be fully-functional. The plan is to install simulators at each of Terra’s four schools, all of which are located in the north of the country.

By Steven ValeSource Mechaman/Trekker