Sunday, November 27, 2016

Chris Young, Rodeos and an Autonomous Tractor

During the third week of October the streets of Indianapolis were flooded with blue corduroy jackets. Around 60,000 jackets to be exact and I got to be one of them! I met kids from Oklahoma, Indiana, and my favorite, the North Pole! Convention was one of the best times of my life. I got to see Chris Young and Cole Swindell in concert, attend Cinch's "World's Toughest Rodeo", shop everything FFA and visit a ton of college representatives I wouldn't get to meet at home. The concert and rodeo were cool but one thing I'm still pretty excited about getting to see in person was a Case IH Autonomous Concept Vehicle (aka the self-driving tractor)!

The system in this tractor allows the farmer to monitor operations and assign a path to follow via GPS. A farmer can then watch or change directions of the tractor from his computer or smart phone. Since this tractor has radars and built in cameras, it can sense when something is in it's way, like another piece of equipment working in the same field. The tractor will come to a complete stop until it's path is changed or the obstruction is out of the way. Now you might be wondering why someone would go through all of this trouble when they can just drive a tractor their self?

Case IH's tagline through this whole autonomous tractor project was "Rethink Productivity" and that's exactly what they did. This piece of equipment can be added into another fleet of equipment with just a few adjustments. Since the tractor can sense what's around it, a farmer can have two or three of these self driving machines running when there's only one of him and no employees. But don't get too excited and fire everyone just yet, when the tractor becomes available it's going to cost a pretty penny.

So as far as cost efficient and time saving goes, this tractor is just what you make of it. Maybe it's only beneficiary to a bigger farm or maybe the small farmers will try their hand at it. Either way, the future of agriculture is advancing pretty quick. Before you know it, pigs really will be flying.