LogOn: Autonomous Tractors May Signal Changes in Farming

Farmers across the country and around the world might one day leave the confines of their tractor cabs and operate autonomous tractors remotely through an app. But will farmers, big and small, be willing to trust the technology? VOA’s Julie Taboh has more.

Technology in the agricultural industry is quickly evolving.

Soon, farmers may be able to launch a driverless tractor out in the field to run 24 hours a day, while they control and monitor it remotely through an app.

Igino Cafiero, Bear Flag Robotics:

“When this country was founded about 50% of Americans were farmers and now it’s less than 1%. And so this is about giving tools to farmers to be more productive.”

The new autonomous tractor from John Deere uses computer vision, artificial intelligence, and GPS to till and plant a field without stopping. But will farmers, big and small, be willing to trust self-driving tractors to get the job done?

Voice of Doug Nimz, Farmer:

“I can check the fuel level, I can check the app to see how much of the field is left, if there was something in the field that it wasn’t sure about, the tractor will stop and alert me; Is this something I can go around?”

Live camera feeds allow the farmer a view of the field at any time. Seeds are precisely planted. Likewise, the tractor’s “see and spray” technology sprays herbicides exactly where needed, saving money while benefiting the environment, the company says.

But the biggest potential benefit, some farmers say, will be the time saved.

Sarah Rachor is a fourth-generation farmer who grows sugar beets, wheat, and soybeans on her little farm in Montana.

“The big difference between what I currently have with my GPS-driven tractor versus a fully autonomous tractor is mostly time. I can farm more land and be more efficient because of all these upgrades in technology.”

Voice of Doug Nimz, Farmer

“Farmers are fairly traditional, but I have a feeling that once they try it, they will become very accepting of it.”

The John Deere autonomous tractors will be available to farmers later this year.

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Originally published at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20vX3SaeZMM

This news story originally appeared at Ag/Farm/Forestry Archives - Social Gov on11 July 2022