Driverless Tractors Have Already Arrived
The ag industry has been talking about driverless tractors for years, but few people have stepped up to make it happen. One of those people is Craig Rupp, who started a company called Sabanto. He developed a product that fits on a small tractor, and planted soybeans for the first time in 2019. When he came back in 2020, his improved autonomous tractor as a service was met with significant demand.
Rupp… “This year in 2020, we went out planting soybeans again in the spring. And we got much, much better than 2019. And then when we came back from planting, you know, we're getting inundated with a lot of organic growers. You know, 'Hey, can you come out and rotary hoe our fields? You know, I have a labor problem - it's pretty easy.' And we had the horsepower to do it. So we started doing that. And then we started doing cultivating, and then now we're doing tillage. And we're getting better and better. The little tractor that we use is very dependable and our software is very mature in that we can detect anomalies and then notify our engineering staff that: hey, there's a problem, you know, we lost RTK on this system, and then it continues.”
The team at Sabanto continues to improve the technology and plans to roll out more autonomous tractors on more acres in 2021.