Immediately following the release of its 5-year plan to significantly increase its investment in autonomous ag technologies, Raven Industries acted on that strategic plan with the acquisition of 2 independent autonomous companies.

On Oct. 30, the company announced the acquisition of a majority interest in Dot Technologies, a Canadian firm that has developed the Dot Power Platform and Dot Ready Implements.

Two days later, Raven announced that it acquired Smart Ag, an autonomous systems developer based in Ames, Iowa.

Both deals are cornerstones of Raven’s new Autonomy division, which will complement its Applied Technology division, which develops the company’s precision farming technology.  

How the acquisitions and further commercialization of autonomous systems will evolve Raven’s dealer network remains to be seen.

But, 42% responding dealers to the 2019 Precision Farming Dealer Benchmark study cited autonomous equipment as being an important part of growing revenue during the next 5 years.

A further breakdown of the data shows that 57% of independent precision dealers anticipate autonomous equipment being an important part of their 5-year plan, while 38% of farm equipment dealers have the same outlook.

Rob Saik, CEO of Dot Technology, notes that the flexibility of its platform could create some new opportunities with dealers and manufacturers.

“For shortline implement manufacturers, Dot is an open, U-shaped platform. So we’re open to talk to shortliners and OEMs about how to integrate their equipment into the Dot platform. So there's lots of reasons why people need to take a look at  the Dot (system), and we’re just happy to be able to supply a path to autonomy for the agricultural sector.”

With Raven making a statement in the autonomous ag equipment market, it will be worth watching to see if and when other companies respond, including the major manufacturers.