The Red River Farm Network just published a report of what debuted on Tuesday at a Las Vegas consumer technology show- a fully autonomous tractor produced by John Deere.  It's not a prototype, it's a production model and it will be available to farmers later this year.  John Deere VP Deanna Kovar sums up this modern marvel

“These machines don’t get tired and they don’t call in sick; they get the job done when it needs to be done, allowing farmers to get the most out of their equipment and their land.”

Take a peek from the John Deere YouTube channel and see what's going to be "driving" around a field near you.

Seems it's true to say that nothing runs like a Deere

After he watched the video JD had this to add in the comment section.

Love seeing all the new technologies however part of the enjoyment of farming is not only watching a crop grow but to also be able to drive or operate the machinery. Let’s not forget the reason why those of us love it so much. If I couldn’t operate the machine then I wouldn’t want to farm but thank you Johndeere for all that you do.

That was actually a pretty common theme to many of the comments left on the site.  I've never farmed a day in my life so it was a bit of a surprise to read about how the hands-on aspect of the work is so central to the passion of producers. But a shortage of labor for many operations is a very real issue as well.

Like autonomous cars, there's skepticism about adapting to real-world conditions.

Here in North Dakota, I can say that Interstate 94 would be the easiest test track for an automated car.  But city driving in the winter? Well, that's a challenge.  In the real world these Auto-tractors would have to face a variety of ever-changing field conditions, but I'm certain John Deere has been testing for years before bringing them to the market.  Here's W Cooman, another skeptic from the comment section.

The technology is amazing. However, I question its ability to quickly recognize & correct any issues. I know tractors already have sensors to monitor, and in some cases, optimize its performance, but what about external inputs - e.g. broken bolt on the implement, wet spots, changing field/weather conditions requiring different tool settings... We all know there will be issues. As of yet, no computer works as fast as, nor more efficiently as, the human brain.

Odd that he presents the computer versus human brain argument which is a decades-old rant against technology taking over so many aspects of our lives.  Ultimately we'd have to admit we're all pretty reliant on the tech advances we enjoy today.  From that same John Deere video, here's a farm family plowing the fields from their front porch.

attachment-Autonomous 8R Tractor _ John Deere Precision Ag 2-55 John Deere YouTube Channel
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Is there anything your phone can't do?

Way before there were autonomous tractors and cell phones, there were plucky pioneers laying claim to North Dakota's sweeping plains...

Here's a list of how they came up with these North Dakota city names.


Origin Of North Dakota City Names Volume 1

Great shots of rural America.

Origin Of North Dakota City Names Volume 2

Great shots of rural America.

Origin Of North Dakota City Names Volume 3

Trailblazers and homesteaders

Origin Of North Dakota City Names Volume 4

Trailblazers and homesteaders

Origin Of North Dakota City Names Volume 5

Trailblazers and homesteaders