of the famed Magnum tractor, two of which won top international design awards, the original Axial Flow combine, which is essentially still in production today, and the revolutionary New Holland " Cat's Eye" tractor line that began a trend toward more advanced and sculptural agricultural equipment. The lighting and front ends of these vehicles were so far ahead of the crowd that they actually preceded a similar automotive styling trend that still continue today. Without question the " Cat's Eye" design was controversial, but it was a trendsetter, and although there have been copies, no one has yet surpassed its style and lighting functionality. Over the years MDI has contracted with many other companies in the industrial vehicle world; Caterpillar, Navistar, Komatsu, McCormick, AGCO, Challenger, and Yanmar. The most interesting projects from our recent work, centre around alternative power source vehicles including hybrid electric drives, hydrogen fuel- cell vehicles, and autonomously operated vehicles. Naturally, not too much can be said about most of these concepts and which companies are pursuing which systems, but it can be said that all of these technologies will find their way into production vehicles at some point. In fact, CAT announced recently that it will begin producing a line of diesel/ electric hybrid bulldozers that will improve fuel consumption by as much as 30%. As power generation and battery technology improves, so will the percentage of fuel savings. Pure electric technology will not be far behind, and will extend into such exotic arenas as extraterrestrial exploration and mining operations. The design of work vehicles has always been functionally driven, and it will continue to be in the future. As recent history tells us however, this class of vehicles might also lead the future " automobile" world technologically. That is what makes industrial vehicle design so challenging, so interesting, and so much fun. THE VEHICLE REVIEW more information? click here!
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