Modern technology consistently moves forward at high speeds, and industries that involve motorized vehicles are no different. Self-driving cars are popping up in nearly every corner of the automotive industry and even farmers across the country are finding ways to use developing technology to maximize their profits.
In the autonomous car trend, Korean car maker Hyundai is the latest manufacturer to turn their sights on the popular technology. Hyundai is partnering with Allegro.ai, an Israeli startup that was founded in 2016 but recently came into the public view after completing a Series A funding round that raised $11 million.
This new automotive player applies deep learning to computer vision for enhanced car navigation. According to Hyundai’s announcement regarding the partnership, they are expecting to use Allegro.ai’s technology for real-time decision-making as well. For a company that built vehicle made for performance racing like the different Hyundai Genesis Coupe models produced from 2010 to 2016, this partnership signals Hyundai’s eagerness to launch their vehicles into the autonomous driving field.
Focusing on increasing production in their literal fields, farmers are considering the value of investing in new technology for their equipment as well. Whispers of self-driving tractors have been circulating in the agricultural industry for years, but an Iowa startup recently made those whispers a reality. SmartAg showcased a system called AutoCart at the Farm Progress Show last August. This product costs about $40,000 and allows a farmer in a combine to summon an autonomous tractor pulling a grain cart.
According to Colin Hurd, the founder of SmartAg, the process of transferring harvested grain from the combine to a grain cart is one of the most time-consuming in farming. Farmers need someone to drive that extra tractor and if they have to operate it themselves they lose out on a significant amount of time. Having technology that does it could make the difference between a successful harvest and a costly one.
Innovators are also turning to robots to make harvests more profitable. Small Robot Company is based in Bristol, England and has designed a robot about nine feet tall that is designed to replace the traditional tractor by being highly customizable. This robot, which the company has named Jack, is meant to be very environmentally-friendly while highly productive. Jack has not yet been put to the test on farmland, but has an existing proof of concept.
According to a survey Caledonia Solutions conducted last year, about 25% of large farmers were investing more in these and similar developing technologies. The potential of saving money while being highly productive is appealing to any farmer large or small, making the agricultural industry a prime market for new technologies.