While doing some background research for a robotics story I’m working on for our August issue, I came across an article by Frank Tobe that I wanted to share. Tobe is the owner and publisher of The Robot Report, which happens to be a goldmine of information on robotics.
His most recent post on 06/27/15 is headlined: “As Google cars roll out, Deere reminds us of thousands of their self-driving tractors,” in which he makes reference to Google’s sending 25 new self-driving cars onto streets this summer.
“John Deere has been selling self-driving kits for their tractors for over 15 years. Their latest version, called AutoTrac, allows the self-driving tractor to follow pre-programmed routes.”
Tobe says over 60% of new Deere tractors are outfitted with the AutoTrac software and kit (or other self-guidance technology) and can be found operating in more than 100 countries around the world. He then quotes Catherine Sandoval, a California PUC commissioner, as saying “In fact, "John Deere is the largest operator of autonomous vehicles."
As Tobe aptly points out, John Deere isn't the only farm equipment manufacturer providing self-driving kits. Other examples he cites are AGCO (Fendt), CNH Industrial (Case New Holland) and Kairos Autonomi.
We’ve written about these and others including Autonomous Tractor Corporation’s “Spirit” tractor, Kinze’s Autonomy Project with tractor and grain cart; and John Deere’s Machine Sync tractor and grain cart combo. (You can find links to our latest reports below). Also, be sure to check out our August print issue for news on a new kit from Autonomous Tractor Corporation that you can buy to automate your existing tractor.
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