Planting the Seeds of Autonomous Agriculture

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Autonomous farm machinery could boost productivity and increase precision

A prototype driverless tractor can be programmed to perform a variety of field tasks, following the most efficient route and avoiding obstructions. A remote operator can monitor progress through onboard sensors and cameras. Another approach is to replace the tractor with a modular implement carrier. The prototype is suited to performing multiple jobs and can run 7 hours nonstop. Commercial launch is expected this spring. Satellites also could play a growing role, guiding GPS-equipped systems spreading inputs to avoid overlaps and missed areas. One current model sends a post-treatment map to the cloud for management.

Planting the Seeds of Autonomous Agriculture