Tech Talk: Autonomous Tractor | VideoJerame Novak | 9/19/2012
The answer is probably sooner than you think.
The Autonomous Tractor Corporation in Fargo has designed a tractor that doesn`t need a person behind the wheel.
With all of the automated technology being used in modern agriculture, some farmers joke about the future of ag technology.
"I might be out of a job (laughs). With all of the robots they`ve got," joked Peter Leedahl, who farms near Leonard, ND.
While that isn`t the case, a Fargo company has designed a tractor that is missing one thing producers have always seen on a tractor, a driver.
"So we thought, if we can have an unmanned aircraft flying in Afghanistan from Missouri. Why can`t we have a tractor in a field with a guy sitting in a pickup?" said Autonomous Tractor Corporation Founder Terry Anderson.
The result is the SPIRIT Autonomous Tractor.
"Well it started out with, 13 years ago, my cousin got a new tractor and I built seven companies from scratch in various technologies and he said why can`t you build us a simpler tractor?" Anderson said.
In addition to not needing a driver, the SPIRIT tractor has other features not found in traditional tractors like dual engines and a system called APS, or Area Positioning System for navigation.
At nine feet tall, SPIRIT is dwarfed by other equipment. Which Anderson says, is what can happen when you remove features that this tractor doesn`t need.
"Well, when you take that environmentally-controlled glass penthouse off of it, you can make it quite a bit smaller."
Anderson says that they hope to start production in March.
For more information visit www.autonomoustractor.com.