A laser-guided self-steering system for vineyard and orchard tractors has been developed by an Austrian tech start-up. We take a closer look at the PAS TracLink Pilot Laser mounted on a Lindner Lintrac 90.

If you had any doubt about the direction that tractor technology is heading in, then you just need to poke your head into one of the exhibition halls at any major international agricultural show. Autonomous machines are the future — that’s certainly the view of the big manufacturers. And the smaller ones, too, for that matter.

The Austrian company Peschak Autonome Systeme (PAS) has developed a novel autosteering system that guides compact tractors through rows of vines and trees with the aid of a laser scanner mounted on the front linkage. Working in conjunction with Austrian tractor maker Lindner, the tech start-up now has a full production set-up out on farm, so we took the opportunity to try it out at one of the country’s leading wineries.

“A good grape grower does certain jobs, like pest control, at night, because that’s when the worst of them are active and the good insects like bees are tucked up in bed,” explains Klaus Klein, general manager of the Weingut Schloss Fels winery. “But due to health and safety rules we need to conform with strict regulations on night work. However it still has to be done because we’ve got 100ha of vineyard to look after. Any help in taking the burden off the operator is a good thing.”

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