Colin Hurd, CEO of Smart Ag was recently named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list for 2019, for autonomous vehicle technology in the agricultural and farming space industry. Autonomous farming means farmers need less help bringing in the harvest, saving them money.
Photos courtesy, Smart Ag
Hurd told us that farmers are often short handed and labor is difficult to find, especially when it comes time to bring in the harvest and help is only needed for 1 or 2 months. This is why he wanted to invent a solution in autonomous farming.
Because autonomous technology is here and viable, Smart Ag created artificially intelligent tech to provide a helping hand in the agricultural space. Their tech will allow farmers to do a three person harvest job with only two people with technology that attaches to their current equipment.
Smart Ag is not creating actual farming trucks yet, but have designed a kit that attaches onto current farming equipment, like grain carts for example. The company's first product called Auto Cart is designed to automatically and intelligently drive grain carts during harvest. Using Smart Ag's autonomous farming tech, a farmer driving a combine can have full control over the grain cart by simply pressing a button.
The combine operator only needs to hit a button on an iPad mounted in the combine to summon the grain cart. The cart will then intelligently find him in the field using AI to predict the best path to reach the farmers. Once it arrives, it will track the combines movement, allowing the operator to unload the grain, even as the combine is in movement.
Autonomous farming obviously needs to overcome a lot of literal obstacles. Scanning topography and changes in grade, Hurd says the AI system maintains the best positioning as the combine operator continues to drive. After completion, the cart automatically parks itself with no assistance from the farmer at all.
Hurd told us this kind of integration has never been successfully done before, and he is certain the kind of technology Smart Ag is creating will be common in the future. He compares the adoption of auto-steer to likely adoption of their AI technology.
The Future of Autonomous Farming
In the same way farm operators started to use auto-steer in the early 2000s, using GPS, AI in farming will be just as common. Perhaps in the near future, farmers won't need to bring in the harvest at all, relying on only autonomous farming solutions and technology.
Hurd said his wife nominated him for the award and out of 5000-or-so nominations he was chosen as one. As soon as next year will we see the robots take over our farming?
Listen to our interview with Colin Hurd of Smart Ag
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