Farmers will be able to buy a driverless machine next year to use in their fields.

The autonomous u-shaped power platform, dot, carries sprayer, grain cart, and seeder implements, and has been designed to replace tractors.

DOT and Seedmaster CEO, Leah Olson, says carrying the implement versus pulling it will change how power is distributed and used.

"By carrying the implement and using the power and the weight of that implement to do a variety of things that are currently limited by ballast or limited by some of the mechanics, we believe we will be able to reduce fuel consumption, and we will be able to reduce compaction."

Olson says they see autonomous agriculture as a solution for some of today's biggest challenges in the industry.

"The labour shortage is so critical, but there's also the fact of there's such a short growing season and yet, harvest of 2018 being really reflective of the very real conditions that can be at play when you're trying to get your grain off and into the bin, and so those are the things that are contributing to a real interest in autonomous farming."

She says, Dot will cost $260,000 U.S. and will be more cost-effective in the long run.

"Because the unit can be used 24/7, the cost per unit per hour, or per acre, we know will go down. Also because it's a smaller platform, there's not as much steel and you're able to still do the functions of a conventional tractor and drill, and sprayer, and grain cart, because you're able to do those, we know that our straight cost is going to be lower on our end."

Olson started as the CEO this September, and previously held roles in CP Rail, the Federal Government, and Pfizer Canada.

She was raised on a farm in the southwest corner of Saskatchewan and is keeping the passion for manufacturing improvements in the family, as her father is Brian Olson who invented the power pin and drop-pin.

 

 

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