12-04-2012 08:15 PM
I'm excited about the idea of self driving tractors and think they will be a popular item in years to come, sooner rather than later.
We hav emany machines that we let run for days on end with some monitoring. Tractors and harvestors are more complicated but it's still doabl. I'd like to be able to turn the combine loose while I hauled grain. I'd like to let the disk mower or baler go around the field while I did something more productive than steer and act as a sensor in case things went wrong.
Labor is expensive and farmers will always gravitate to machinery that will obviate labor. Look at how fast round balers caught on. Autosteer and other technology is coming on faster and faster because farmers are finding it valuable. when I plane, I no longer worry about where I am driving, I have time to look intently at the planter units and machienry to see that it is planting as I wish.
The first machines will be pretty simple and will have many fail-safes. AS we get more experience, knowledge, as systems get cheaper we will see more and more of them. How nice to have some machinery doing dangerous tasks without endangering an operator, to work thorugh tthe night wtihout sleeping.