Innovation of the Week

This self-driving robot tractor could revolutionize farming

The future of farming is here

A futuristic tractor.

A "seriously intimidating-looking" robotic tractor has been drawing crowds at Iowa's annual Farm Progress Show, said George Dvorsky at Gizmodo​. Unlike a conventional tractor, this futuristic piece of farm ­equipment — called the Auton­o­mous Con­cept Vehicle — doesn't have a cabin for a driver. Instead, the tractor, built by agricultural equipment firm Case IH, finds its way using built-in cameras, radar, and GPS.

Case IH

A farmer can program and control the machine using an app on a tablet computer, and once the tractor gets its orders, it sets to work "without any further human intervention." The bot can operate day or night, and is designed to plant seeds and harvest crops, among other tasks. Because of legal concerns, such as the fact that the self-driving tractor will sometimes cross public roads while moving between fields, experts say it will likely be years before the machine appears on an actual farm.

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