Ztractor is building three models of electric-powered, robotic tractors. This is the smallest offering, the Bearcub-24, which has approximately 30 horsepower, a 540 p.t.o. and a category 1 three-point hitch. It may be available in Canada next year.  |  Ztractor photo

Small electric, autonomous tractors build big-time

A California startup is building three models of autonomous tractors fit with electric drive trains, with the smallest already in production and deliveries to American farmers expected this year. “The Bearcub-24 model has a 24 kilowatt-hour battery, and it’s the equivalent to let’s say around 30 horsepower,” said Bakur Kvezereli, founder of Ztractor. Each model […] Read more

Cervus Equipment works on the Smart Farm at Olds College during last year’s harvest. | Olds College photo

Smart Farm helps make high-tech agriculture a reality

Olds College is showing how computers will revolutionize the way modern prairie agriculture is about to be carried out

A computer control room isn’t exactly the first thing that comes to mind when people think of farming, but Stuart Cullum says such technology is already sort of here. “I mean, a lot of what’s happening on the farm can be seen on a computer in a control room, so to speak — a person […] Read more

The autonomous FarmWise Titan FT35 analyzes the contents of a field and then makes choices about which plants should be there and mechanically eliminates any that shouldn't.  |  FarmWise photo

More farm robots on the horizon

Small companies and startups are having the biggest initial impact as work on autonomous platforms continues

The march of the robots into agricultural fields continues. Major OEMs are well into the development of autonomous platforms, but the relatively small companies and startups are having the biggest initial impact. The electric utility tractor by Monarch will be available to Canadian farmers this year and it has interesting autonomous capability that may turn […] Read more

Brian Tischler demonstrates how he’s able to drive his tractor autonomously using software on a laptop.  |  Jeremy Simes photo

VIDEO: Alta. farmer’s autonomous tractor working well

Brian Tischler, who demonstrated his technology at canolaPALOOZA in Lacombe in late June, says safety is crucial

LACOMBE, Alta. — Brian Tischler stands in front of a moving tractor. Nobody is in the driver’s seat, but the machine stops. It senses he’s there. He then decides to get out of the tractor’s way. The machine notices he’s no longer there and carries on with business, moving forward. “We went around this field […] Read more

The Connect spray attachment built for the DOT autonomous agricultural robot has a 120-foot aluminum boom, a 1,600 U.S. gallon stainless steel tank, and a continuous flow boom. | Photo supplied by Connect

Sprayer built for autonomous ag platform

REGINA — Slightly less than a year after the DOT autonomous agricultural platform was shown to the public at the Ag In Motion Farm show, the first DOT compatible implement built by a “platform partner” is being tested. A newly formed company called Connect, which is closely affiliated with Pattison Liquid Systems, has produced a […] Read more

Creator of Ag Open GPS, Brian Tischler, sits in the electronics lab he built in his basement. He uses the lab to develop projects or fix farm electronics. | Robin Booker photo

Farmer develops tractor control

An Alberta farmer has developed open source software capable of driving tractors autonomously with the use of their existing GPS. AgOpenGPS is a free program farmers can download onto a tablet, which users then plug into a port located on the back of most GPS systems. The tablet also needs to connect to an arduino, […] Read more

Norbert Beaujot stands with the first DOT powered platform ahead of release last summer. The prototype has a 165 h.p. Tier 4 Cummins engine, which will be swapped for a 200 h.p. Tier 5 in production for 2019. Independent, hydraulic wheel motors guide the machine with sub-inch control. | Michael Raine photo

Connecting the DOTs

DOT is what happens when farming processes are examined carefully. Does seeding require bigger machines? Does spraying mean going faster and wider? Does anyone need to pilot a field roller? Or any other field machine, except maybe a combine, for now? The new machine design, the DOT, retires the tractor and giant airseeder and drill […] Read more

AGCO’s Fendt division is the home to innovation at the company.  Its MARS system of multiple, small field robots is that company’s current product in development when it comes to autonomous field tools. It is shown here in the field in Marktoberdorf, Bavaria in Germany.  |  Agco photo

MARS robot a taste of hired hands of the future?

DECATUR, Ill. — New technologies are a hot topic with producers at farm shows this season. The release of the DOT, autonomous farming system at the Ag In Motion show in Saskatchewan made a big splash with its promise of removing the tractor from most fields, relying instead on smaller, decentralized power and multiple field […] Read more