The Farm Progress Show, an annual industry gathering for farmers, had a big turn out this year.
You could chalk it up to the 70-degree temps. Or maybe the clear, bluebird skies. But you'd be wrong. It’s the badass robotic tractor that drew the largest crowd.
Though rather innocuously dubbed the Autonomous Concept Vehicle, it’s a monolithic beast of machinery with a slim, modern silhouette ... which can probably be attributed to the fact that there’s no cab for a driver.
The ACV, manufactured by Case IH, is fully automated and controlled remotely from either a desktop computer or a touchscreen tablet. It uses radar and GPS for guidance and has 360-degree cameras for remote monitoring. It can be used in tandem with a farmer or run on autopilot and works a 24-hour workday — a useful feature in the event you're trying to harvest a crop before a large-scale weather event like a thunderstorm.
It packs a 419-horsepower engine with a top speed of 35 mph, and it’s biggest regulatory hurdle will be how it crosses public roads that bisect properties.
Their promo video suggests it’ll free up unskilled labor.
Free up to do what, exactly, is unclear. But it's a question we'll be asking a lot of in the coming years.