Eighteen months after the last meeting, the mobility unit of DG GROW convened a Working Group on Agricultural Tractors (WGAT) teleconference on 12th October 2022, chaired by the new deputy Head of Unit Lorena Ionita. This was the opportunity for Member States and stakeholders to express their vision for the future of these activities, although no decision was taken.

The main goal of the meeting was to present the outcomes of the assessment on the Mother Regulation (MR), prepared by TRL under contract with FKA as consultancy agency. The recommendations from TRL – points which need further action or review in the future – were presented in an article from the last CEMA newsletter.

French authorities presented their needs for improvements of the existing requirements or additions. Their points include in particular:

  • operator presence control
  • requirements to impose seat belt
  • access/exit from the cab
  • non-conventional steering controls
  • front loaders, considering the revision of the safety standard – EN 12525 – to come
  • cab filters as well as filtration units mounted on cabs to improve the cab protection from a category 2 (filtration against dust) to a category 4 (filtration against dust, aerosols and vapours)
  • autonomous tractors and the way to consider units fitted on conventional tractors to make them autonomous
  • electric tractors

Specifically for autonomous tractors, they suggested to use of Articles 35/36, dealing with innovation, and allowing EU type-approvals under certain rules as a short-term approach.

CEMA took the chance to stress its will to develop a 3rd batch of amendment on electric vehicles with the extension of the existing requirements for narrow tractors and light tractors to other categories, the need to cover the compatibility between new vehicles from 1st January 2025 fitted with hydraulic dual-line trailer braking system and the legacy fleet having a single-line braking system and the addition of new lighting Regulations – R148 on light signalling devices, 149 on road-illuminating devices and 150 on retro-reflecting devices –, as new types of lights need to comply with these regulations.

The Commission expressed that there was the possibility to proceed to a quick fixing through a third batch of amendments, as long as there is no need to amend the MR.

CEMA has asked the addition of a point on the agenda to inform the WGAT members of the complicated ongoing discussions at UNECE level on Cybersecurity (CS) and Software update of Management System (SUMS) for agricultural vehicles, which may result in having several Regulations covering the same aspects and imposing requirements and conformity assessments not adapted for our sector.

The CEMA experts developed a roadmap which was presented during the last meeting of the UNECE dedicated group (CS/OTA from GRVA): the intent is to have adapted requirements in a specific ISO standard and ensure alignment with the frame of the work done for the European regulation under development – Cyber-Resilience Act. This also implies an adaptation of the conformity assessment, allowing manufacturer self-compliance.