Smartphone-run tractors | What the Tech?

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (WHAT THE TECH?) — One of the hardest, most time-consuming jobs in the U.S. is farming but you can now save time with tractors you can run from your smartphone.

Tilling the ground, planting seeds, and, of course, harvesting, all from a smartphone.

The tractor has cameras on all sides. One screen shows if it’s staying in a straight line. Another watches for obstacles. As a farmer watches, they see the instrument panel and watch as it turns to another row.

The farmer can even drive the tractor back to the pumps for refueling all from their smartphone.

On large farms, everything happens at once.

“You have to be running your combine harvesting the crop. You have to be unloading that crop onto a tractor and grain carts to transport it to a semi-truck, and you need an operator in the semi-truck to get grain stored and eventually sold. As that’s happening, farmers need to re-till the land for the next crop,” a John Deere representative said.

The rep added it isn’t about cutting jobs

“We think of our autonomy as more filling that needs to have your more experienced operators doing the more important work so that it can run and handle that job, so you’re not set back come spring and having to till before you plant. The window is super tight. You don’t have time to mess around. Especially if Mother Nature throws you curve balls,” he said.

This isn’t a concept, either. John Deere’s autonomous vehicles are already working on farms in seven states.

The company’s goal is for every piece of equipment that touches corn or soy to be autonomous within six years.

John Deere hasn’t put a price tag on these smartphone-run tractors. However, a spokesperson said it will be an add-on on its most expensive tractors, which cost around $700,000.

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