...New Holland Agriculture is partnering with E. & J. Gallo Winery, the largest family-owned winery in the world, in a pilot project testing its NHDrive autonomous technology applied to T4.110F vineyard tractors....the New Holland NHDrive autonomous tractor is an unmanned vehicle that is fully autonomous and can be monitored and controlled via a desktop computer or via a portable tablet interface...
...The NHDrive tractor follows optimized in-field paths, which are automatically generated by the software, after having taken into account the size and shape of the field, any pre-existing obstacles and the width of the implement to be used...
...With a combination of radar, LiDAR and RGB cameras, the NHDrive is able to detect a wide range of in-field obstacles. If an obstacle is detected, the tractor sends a message to the interactive interface and the person responsible for the farming operations will decide if and how the tractor can avoid or bypass the obstacle. It is possible that the cab will be completely removed in future autonomous tractors.....
This is already happening. I was in Walsh Colorado years ago talking with an agriculture sales person. Some tractors now follow gps and don't really need a person. We are getting there. Not sure about total autonomation.
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I watch shows from Japan that show automated harvesters, planters, and fertilizing by drone. The drones can also detect disease within certain areas of the field and treat just that area only. The drones also can detect growth patterns of whichever crop is planted.
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Autonomous farming, to some degree, has been in place for quite awhile. You now have a lot of your fertilizer, herbicide pesticide application all done by GPS so there are no skips or double application. I'd say within 5 years, weed and bug control with be done with drones. (Anybody remember the movie "Runaway" with Tom Selleck?) Think about it: A drone, with recognition software, can spray an individual bug or weed instead of spraying the whole field. That way chemical application can be much less for cost saving and less runoff.
Tractors using RTK are sub-inch accuracy. I built a machine with tractor and implement GPS guidance that means the tractor is exactly on line and the implement is making slight adjustments. GPS still requires a driver to make decisions but it controls the tractor accurately when engaged. I spoke with one of the engineers for this sprayer last week.
There is some really neat technology in autonomous combine/grain carts. Pay attention to the tractor
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