Nokian Tyres plc can take credit for another world record. Its tires helped a tractor set a record for fastest snow removal — without anyone behind the wheel.
A Valtra T254 Versu tractor, equipped with Nokian Hakkapeliitta TRI tires, set the world speed record for snow removal with an autonomous tractor in March 2018. The tractor plowed snow on a closed road in Southern Finland at 73.171 km/h (45.466 mph). This isn't the first time the two Finnish manufacturers have worked together to set a world record. In February 2015 the two companies set the world record for the fastest tractor on ice. (Top speed: 130.165 km/h.)
The tractor used for the latest test, the Valtra T254 Versu, was named the Tractor of the Year 2018 and is heralded for its versatility in a wide range of jobs including agriculture, forestry and municipal maintenance tasks.
The speed record was set in a secured space and with the involvement of research teams from both companies. Valtra has a long history of building machines adapted for road maintenance tasks in cold conditions. Valtra says the data retrieved from the speed record provides "valuable data for future research into autonomous technology."
Exceeding the ordinary tractor speed with a front-mounted implement and on a slippery surface puts stress on the tractor and its tires. The block tread pattern of the Nokian Hakkapeliitta TRI tires have been specifically designed for stability on icy and snowy surfaces.
“The predictability and car-like handling of the Nokian Hakkapeliitta TRI, combined with its sheer traction, have made the tire a popular choice with winter contractors," saysToni Silfverberg, head of sales and marketing for Nokian Heavy Tyres. “The same features also lend themselves nicely to working at record speeds.”
If it seems like an unusual record, consider another one of Nokian's claims to fame. In 2016 Nokian tires were fitted on a BMW 330 when professional stunt driver Vesa Kivimaki set the world record for the fastest side wheelie in a car — at 115 mph.