For decades, farmers equated machine control with having two hands on the steering wheel, navigating their field on instinct and tradition. The onset of GPS guidance and auto-steering more than 20 years ago created profitable efficiencies, which served as the cornerstone of precision farming hardware innovation.
But the next generation of machine automation is imminent, offering the ag industry promising, yet unproven opportunities. Developing technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI), autonomous vehicles and progressive engine systems are expected to redefine production ag in the coming years, for both farmers and dealers.
No longer will self-driving machines, robotic sensing tools or electric engines be science fiction. These advancements, and others, are on the cusp of commercial production.
Farm Equipment interviewed manufacturers and academic experts who shared their outlook for a special report on the breakthrough technologies that will define the future of agricultural production. The pages that follow answer some of the pressing questions — while raising a few more — about how the application of these new innovations will impact farm equipment dealers and their customers.