It takes a very special tractor to turn heads in Iowa, but this one drew crowds.
This week at Iowa’s Farm Progress Show, Case IH debuted their remote controlled tractor prototype, the Case IH Autonomous Concept Vehicle.
The futuristic tractor, which sort of looks like an ATV on steroids, is designed to make modern farming as efficient as possible.
Instead of driving the tractor in a cockpit, farmers control the machine’s routes via an app on a tablet computer.
The tractor can plant crops, collect real-time crop data, monitor harvests and take pictures — all via remote control.
The vehicle can also work with existing non-remote tractors, or together with other driverless tractors as a fleet.
You can see more of the tractor in action in the video below.
Like driverless cars, driverless tractors aren’t quite ready to hit the market.
According to Bloomberg, the biggest legal hurdle is whether or not Cash IH and similar corporations can collect and own the harvest data from the tractors. And if they do, what regulations be in place to control how they use it?
Another concern has to do with how it would fit under current automobile laws. If you’ve ever lived in or driven through a small farm town, you know that tractors have to drive on the roads with other motorists from time to time. How would a driverless tractor, or car for that matter, be regulated? The legality remains foggy.
All things considered, this kind of technology seems to be the inevitable future, so it’s not really a question of if, but rather when.
Hollywood has already featured similar technology in big budget films. In the 2014 film Interstellar, Matthew McConaughey portrayed a farmer who employed a fleet of similar driverless tractors to take care of his farm.