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The Age of Technology (Editorial)

(Jan. 12, 2016) Think we’ve come a long way into the journey of food and crop production through the Age of Technology?
We often get the impression that we ain’t seen nothin’ yet.
A company called Autonomous Tractor Corporation is about to unveil what it calls its eDrive tractor at the 10th anniversary winter conference of the Family Farms group Jan. 11-15 at the Loews Vanderbilt Hotel in Nashville, Tenn.
It’s a remote-controlled and soon-to-be fully autonomous 400 HP tractor, called “Big Jim.”
ATC’s sales pitch says the “eDrive tractor is expected to be manufactured and sold for as much as 40 percent less than conventional tractors, promising a significant savings on capital expenses for farmers.”
The tractor features an “AutoDrive” guidance system, coupled with “FieldSmart Artificial Intelligence,” which allows the tractor to “learn” the field, rather than relying on GPS.
Once the system has “learned” the field, the tractor can operate autonomously, “delivering significant time savings while allowing the farmer to do other things,” ATC said.
So, in theory as well as practice, the tractor could be making the second cutting of alfalfa while the farmer’s in the barn milking the cows.
We just received our 2016 Classic Tractor calendar.
As has often been said, we’ve come a long way, baby.