RSM Night Vision enables drivers of agricultural machinery working at night to “see” obstacles or people in the immediate surroundings of the machine, that they would not be able to see with the naked eye.
It has won one of the 39 silver awards for innovation at Agritechnica, the world’s leading trade fair for agricultural technology, which takes place November 10-16 in Hanover, Germany.
The win represents something of a breakthrough in the EU for the Rostselmash company, unfamiliar to most European farmers, even though it is a famous Russian company, manufacturing an estimated 2.8 million combine and forage harvesters since 1929.
The company nearly disappeared in after the fall of the Soviet Union, but has been revived, and now sells to more than 35 countries.
In 2007 they took control of Buhler Industries of Winnipeg in Canada, makers of the Canadian–built Versatile brand of articulated tractors.
The innovation judges appointed by the German Agricultural Society for the Agritechnica awards said the Rostselmash RSM Night Vision System uses not only the visible light, but also part of the near-infrared light spectrum in its silicon-based, and thus cost-effective, camera technology.
The feeds from the main camera, which is installed in the cab and looks ahead of the machine, are projected onto the front screen, whereas the feeds from the side cameras are on display screens.
Unlike costly thermal cameras, the RSM Night Vision System illuminates a larger range.
As a further advantage, it is not necessarily mounted on the outside of the machine where it is exposed to dust and debris.
Electronic pre-processing and algorithms make the system very sensitive and effective in conditions with very little available light.
High sensitivity allows use of this technology together with the regular tractor lights, where it provides visibility in the range of 250 metres up to 1,500m, and also allows operators to work at higher forward speeds.
It helps them to see people and obstacles sooner.
Night work offers a number of advantages, such as lower temperatures for certain types of fieldwork such as spraying. On the other hand, despite modern and powerful work light systems, night work involves risks, including impaired visibility, with operators straining to view the machine’s immediate surroundings and to notice obstacles and people in good time.
According to Rostselmash, the Night Vision system is designed for use on self-propelled agricultural machinery, and greatly increases the visibility of a sprayer, harvester, or tractor operator, by up to 20%, compared to traditional thermal imaging technology.