Watch These Self-Driving Drone Tractors Redefine Farming
The future of agriculture looks surprisingly badass.
In what could be one of the biggest steps towards once again redefining the nation's farming industry in decades, massive agricultural equipment manufacturing group CNH Industrial showed off a pair of self-driving tractors to the public earlier this week. The tractors are designed to almost completely remove once-necessary farmhands and equipment operators from the agricultural workflow.
CNH Industrial brought its self-driving Case IH Magnum and New Holland T8 NHDrive tractors to the 2016 Farm Progress Show in Boone, Iowa. Though some of the company's tractors already come with auto-steer features, these new farm machines are able either drive via remote-control or on-board autonomous guidance system, all without the need for a driver in the cabin.
The new tractors used GPS, LiDAR, and cameras to keep themselves inline and doing their jobs without issue. The tractors could be controlled remotely on a computer or a tablet. On those devices, farmers can check the status of the rigs, remotely view their four cameras, change the routes the machines take, and change attachment settings. Also, if the tractor notices an unmoving object in its path, it will alert the person at the remote controls to take control to choose its next course of action. To hammer out the kinks in this tech, CNH Industrial partnered with Utah-based Autonomous Solutions Incorporated, a company that develops off-road self-driving technology.
Not everything about these tractors is revolutionary, though. Both machines are powered by similar powertrains as the company's other tractors, and the suspension layouts are also like more conventional farm equipment.
Though the New Holland T8 NHDrive has a cab where a farmer can sit, the Case IH magnum concept has nothing of the sort. Instead, it looks like a futuristic prop from a science-fiction flick where Will Smith leads an army of kind-hearted intelligent farm equipment against an army of evil military robots that have taken over the world. In other words: badass.
Check out both tractors in action below.