Tractors, the charge of self-driving ones

Phoenix, Arizona – If you still have to wait to find your first self-driving car at the dealership, the tractors driverless I am already on the market: even in the versions powered entirely by electricity and biomethane. Arizona“arid zone”: it is around Phoenix that some of the most promising tools for the agriculture of the future are being tested. On a sunny December morning, between the Grand Canyon and the Sonoran desert, a very large area in the vicinity of the capital of the American state was subtracted from a condition of aridity to become an agricultural area. Here, where in this winter period the desert climate at 1 pm is characterized by a summer heat and by 6 pm the cold air is already transformed into freezing, the tractors of Cnh Industrial they parade on land that has been sown or that already hosts growing seedlings. Big news for some of these mammoth models is that no one leads them: or rather, no one is in the cab to drive them.

Great news but not absolute: the company John Deere presented the first version of a self-driving tractor at the beginning of 2022. On the other hand in this desert area the great protagonists are two completely new: the first tractor driverless electric and the first a biomethane. It seems strange, but for the oldest economic sector of humanity – linked to an imaginary of traditions passed from generation to generation – the only way to respond to the demand for food of the future is theautomation. It is not the market that is asking for it, but the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

The challenge of the future

Precision farming, robots to integrate work in the fields, machines driverlessautomated greenhouses, vertical farms grown fromartificial intelligence (Ai): innovation in the agricultural field becomes essential to save crops from climate change. And even more automation: in its latest report on State of food and agriculture (Sofa), FAO states that:

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The development of technologies such as Internet of things (Iot), drones or GPS but also those related to sharing economy in the agricultural sector. The report tells of concrete applications that are already making a difference: from services to tractor rental in Ghana until to cases of shrimp who use themachine learning and the robotics in Mexico. This applies to fields as well as farms, with increasingly “intelligent” stables and a technological efficiency of forage production: just to give an example, it is worth remembering that over 71% of the entire agricultural area of ​​the European Union is destined to feed livestock.

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Increase agricultural productivity is the challenge of the future, in view of a growing demand for food to be made using increasingly scarce natural resources. Indeed, global demand for agricultural and food products will grow by 50% by 2050, when the world population will have gone from 8 billion to just under 10. And food supply is not just a problem of the future, but a topic of the present. The World Food Programme defined 2022 a year of unprecedented food crisis, due to a combination of lower crop yields due to drought and halted grain exports following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. And even before the Ukrainian crisis, one in eight people in the world was already suffering from hunger. For reduce the use of resources and simultaneously increase land productivitysmart agricultural machines, driverless and with a low energy impact, they are one of the evolutionary steps for tomorrow’s agriculture.

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Farming in the desert

It’s not a promise for the future, like driverless cars, but a revolution already underway: we believe that the power supply it will work very well for agricultural machinery. And even more we believe in the methanewhich is already present in the farms and ready to use”. Scott WineCEO of Cnh Industrial, is sure that automation in the fields will once again be man’s ally: not his substitute. As explains a Wired during the Tech Days of CNH, which took place in December in Phoenix, “if we look at history, new technologies have created growth and therefore jobs. Sure, autonomous machines can work twice as hard as a man, but they must always be governed by peoplewhich will be able to relieve themselves of strenuous tasks”.

An example is the Trident 5550 self-propelled sprayer tractorthe result of the technology of the Raven company (acquired by CNH), which will be on the market this year: it will allow the farmer to monitor, synchronize and control a driverless tractor from a tablet in the combine cab. To give an idea of ​​the technical potential, these automated machines allow you to plant land twice as fast than normal, they know how optimize resources based on physical space and soil type, also according to the impacts caused by extreme events triggered by climate change. And the application of the IoT allows him to talk independently while they work together in adjacent fields: currently six different tractors can do it at the same time.

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