Media Release :: Forging ahead with an autonomous future in agriculture

Driver-less tractors and farming equipment that can be controlled remotely could be powering our region’s agricultural sector in the next decade.

The fast-changing landscape of the industry was discussed at the Agtech and Logistics Hub’s Meet Up, facilitated by TSBE, with RDO Australia Group (RDO Equipment/Vermeer Australia and Vanderfield).

Integrated Solutions Manager, Stephen Hegarty told attendees that in agriculture, the building blocks for autonomy are already done.

“The operator is really there as a human quality assurance system, otherwise the machine could do its task without the person in the seat.”

“I think the reason we’re not there yet, even though engineering wise we are, is legislation and connectivity.”

“Until majority of acres of arable Australia is able to get some form of connectivity in every square inch of the field, we will not make that final leap to autonomy,” Mr Hegarty said.

The event held at RDO’s Toowoomba office in Torrington was a great opportunity for the Agtech ecosystem to come together and build a strong and cohesive network.

Director for the Centre of Agriculture Engineering Prof. Craig Baillie said autonomy is an exciting conversation.

“It is the future of agriculture, which provides so many opportunities to exploit potential that’s left in the field, but also to provide opportunities for young people who want to see agriculture as a career.”

“Tonight is a really good opportunity to see some of the local expertise that we’ve got in precision ag, and how that’s connected to what farmers can get access to,” he said.

Interim CEO of the RDO Australia Group, Michael Hurn gave the 70 attendees an overview of where the company came from and where they want to go.

“In 2012, Vanderfield partnered with RDO Equipment in the U.S. and they had very similar values, both focusing on customer outcomes and it was a great alignment for the two businesses.”

“There’s been a lot of other ag dealers come and go in their time, but Vanderfield has stood the test of time and I think it’s all down to that customer focus,” he said.

The August Meet Up also showcased the latest technology and innovation within the John Deere Construction & Forestry and Vermeer equipment ranges.