FRESNO, Ca. - November 20, 2001 / AgPRonline / - Caterpillar Agricultural Products Inc. has announced the selection of BEELINE Technologies Inc. as the global supplier of guidance technology for use in the Caterpillar® Auto-Guide™ Satellite Navigation System for the new Challenger® MT700 Series agricultural tractors.

Bob Strube, president of Cat Ag Products and BEELINE Chairman Geoff Miller, announced the agreement today in DeKalb, Ill., and Brisbane, Australia.

"With the MT700 Series tractors, we are challenging notions about how new technology will be accepted by today's farm operators," Strube commented.  "The Auto-Guide option is integrated into the tractor's Intellitronics™ network, and uses GPS technology to automatically steer the tractor.  It is easy to learn and use, and has been well received by the farmers who have seen it."

According to Strube, use of the system helps reduce operator fatigue and can improve efficiency.  "The operator is able to focus more attention on implement performance, and doesn't tire from having to constantly make steering corrections," he added.  "Farmers can increase their productivity by reducing overlap and underlap as they traverse the field."

The Cat® Auto-Guide system is being developed together with BEELINE, and will be sold and supported through the Cat dealer network.  It takes advantage of BEELINE's experience in ag guidance applications, and with certain key component suppliers.  The system is powered by NovAtel GPS hardware.

"Caterpillar and BEELINE have collaborated to bring progressive farmers the very latest in guidance technology," Strube said.  "BEELINE is the world's leading supplier of high accuracy automatic guidance systems in the agricultural market, and we are delighted to work with them to produce this exciting new capability for our growers."

"The Caterpillar MT700 Series represents a quantum leap in tractor technology," said Miller, a former Secretary of Agriculture in Australia.  "We are pleased to have been chosen to work with Caterpillar on this exciting venture."

BEELINE Technologies is a privately held company, which pioneered the commercialization of GPS-based auto-steer of agricultural equipment.  BEELINE was founded in 1994 and headquartered in Brisbane, Australia, with offices in Fresno, Calif.  BEELINE will continue to support and enhance their line of complete aftermarket systems.  They currently support the world's widest range of agricultural auto-steer solutions. For more information, visit http://www.beelinenavigator.com/.

Along with its growing presence in the agricultural industry, Caterpillar is the world's largest manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, and industrial turbines. Headquartered in Peoria, Ill., the company posted sales revenues in 2000 of US $20.18 billion. The Caterpillar agricultural equipment line includes the new Challenger MT700 Series tractors, Challenger E-Series tractors, LexionÒ combines, primary and secondary tillage tools, VFS track trailers and specialized material-handling products.  For more information on features and availability, visit your local Caterpillar dealer or the Caterpillar Website at http://www.cat-ag.com/.