Starting in 2009 we started seeing hints of robotic farming equipment. Arduino forum user Lance posted about his automating a combine harvester.
Lance was able to get the harvester to stay within 3 inches of the desired path which is very good for homemade gear relying on GPS.
Now we are seeing several companies unveiling tractor concepts that don’t involve someone driving them. Case IH and New Holland have both unveiled robotic concepts.
Both companies envision a future where you can plan a tractors path for the day and leave it alone until you get an alert. You might get an alert if an object is in the way of it’s path or if there is a weather warning. You can then take appropriate action by either steering the tractor around the object or returning it home if needed. Of course all of this can be done from your computer or tablet.
New Holland states it will be at least 3 years before a commercial robotic tractor is available.
Of course there are other concepts like Prospero, a robot that would plant seeds. Meanwhile, Vision Robotics has invented a grapevine pruner and don’t forget Harvest Automation who make robots for nurseries and greenhouses.
Check out the Case IH concept in the video below.