Farmer turns Innovator : developes a tractor without a steering wheel

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Why would somebody design a tractor that is driven like a bullock? Instead of using reins, there are two joysticks to turn, accelerate or stop left and right wheels independently. The very idea of doing away with the steering wheel would not even occur to most automobile designers. But Bachubhai Savajibhai Thesia is no ordinary designer. He is 10th pass, self-taught inventor and innovator, and engaged in designing different devices. He lives in village Kalavad, 30 km, away from Jamnagar.Bachubhai is known as ‘Khopadee’ (a brainy) in this small township. To many he may appear a persistent explorer of crazy ideas, but his reputation as a serial innovator has spread far and wide. His workshop and many unfinished projects testify to that. There is no dividing line between his living rooms, workshop and the junkyard. And yet, there is a serene orderliness in this chaos.

He demonstrated his small wheel rotary tractor which was operated through a joystick. He took all the 360 degrees twists and turn, which were indeed fascinating to see. He had masked his gearbox with card boards. A simple diesel engine was fitted on a chassis made specially for the tractor using an old axle of used vehicle. The idea of making a joystick came from the rope tied to the bullock cart oxen. As you pull the rope on the left or right side, the animal turns and when you pull it hard, it stops.

This tractor worked exactly like that. It could take sharper turns than any other tractor available in the market. He could maneuver the tractor with great ease using the two joysticks. The tractor operates on a 10 HP stationary engine and consumes around five litres of diesel in around eight hours of work. The steering had been removed and two levers had been put in its place for navigating the vehicle. The levers were connected to the left and right front wheels respectively. The motor powers the rear wheels to which brakes have also been provided.

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