SmartAg Driverless Tractors to be Ready for Fall 2019 Harvest
SmartAg, an ag tech company, announced that it plans to have its autonomous grain cart system, AutoCart, ready for commercial use by the 2019 fall harvest.
The company first unveiled the new concept last year and prepared twelve prototypes that were used throughout last years harvest. Now they say they are ready for the driverless grain carts to hit the market.
Justin Heath, SmartAg’s chief marketing officer, said “AutoCart will be a way to help fight the current labor shortage in rural America. Finding experienced workers to drive the grain carts during harvest time can be difficult. Heath said, “Often, it’s retired folks who may not be familiar with a tractor cab. It may be Mom, or a farmer’s 12-year-old son. We’re leveraging them for labor, but that’s not necessarily fixing the problem.”
AutoCart allows a farmer in a combine to summon the grain cart when needed by pushing a button on an app. Once the system is alerted, the tractor will drive the grain cart out to meet the combine, and once it is in range, it will connect to the combine’s system via wifi. This will sync the movement of the tractor and grain cart with that of the combine allowing it to follow its movement precisely. After the cart has been loaded by the combine, it can be manually unloaded and then the system starts over again.
Currently, the system is only found in conjunction with John Deere (DE) 8R tractors, but the technology is compatible with any of the major combines.
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