How is a tractor supposed to get around without a farmer driving it? Apparently, John Deere has it all figured out. KWWL reports that Deere and Company plan on rolling out the first self-driving tractor later this year. No driver? No problem!

Deere and Company announced the production of the tractor earlier this year at the CES Tech Conference in Las Vegas. And while traditionalists and the farmers of today may see this as a threat to their way of life, Deere and Company see it as a necessary step toward the future. KWWL reports that there are several factors driving the need for automation. Global demand for food is expected to rise 50% in the next 25 to 30 years. The farm labor force has been declining, and less land will be available for farming in the future. And, the average age of an American farmer is over 55 years old.


KWWL reports that John Deere has had self-steering tractors for more than twenty years, but this new technology will take things to another level. Deere officials say "think of it as a large robot". So how will it all work? Deere is using AI, machine learning, computer vision, and advanced sensors. The tractor will also have six stereo cameras, providing a 360-degree field of view.

With the new self-driving tractor, farmers don't even have to be in the field. KWWL reports that a farmer can monitor progress remotely using their smartphone or tablet. The future of farming is coming. But is farming ready for it?

 

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