by Lucie Roy
Imagine farming without a tractor.
This was the new mindset presented at the 2018 Sturgeon Valley Fertilizers (SVF) Trade Show held in Morinville on Wednesday.
Agriculture is moving and evolving at an incredible pace, presenting with it exciting and challenging times to be a farmer.
Sitting at the dining room table with a cup of coffee and simultaneously farming from the convenience of a tablet and a remote is the new reality.
The app even allows the farmer to see what the equipment is seeing from its range of view. He can also see if the equipment has sent a message of any concerns, such as an obstacle, if it is low on fuel and if it should return to the farmyard for fuel or if fuel will be delivered to where it is located in the field.
Entering the age of autonomous agriculture and new technology was a one-hour presentation titled, “Meet the future of agriculture,” provided by Guest Speaker Marco Coppola, Business Analyst for DOT Technology Corp. and sister company SeedMaster Manufacturing where the roots of DOT were formed.
The DOT autonomous power platform was built to perform a number of tasks for driving and farming. It is a diesel powered hydraulic driven platform set to revolutionize the future of farming.
It can integrate with any implement that is designed as DOT Ready. When it moves into position the four lifting arms allows it to become one with the implement.
It can then transport it to the field and start working.
Preliminary preparations include mapping the field using satellite imagery or by driving the field to map out obstacles such as trees. Once the map is loaded DOT uses GPS to travel the field.
The DOT power platform is going through rigorous testing in 2018 before being more widely launched in 2019.
In his presentation, Coppola spoke of the new technology being met with some resistance by some and made a comparison to when tractors replaced the horses in the fields years ago and the mental shift that took place at that time.
Almost everyone uses a tractor now a days and there will still be a place for them on the farm and for those who have signed up to receive DOT or reserved their spot for production they are seeing their farm managed a little bit differently.
Peoples’ appetite for change does exist said Coppola, even if it frightens us at times, it is there.
Even if it changes rapidly, for example 13 years may seem like a long time but when you are a part of it it goes really fast.
Coppola made this illustration with the picture of a New York scene from the 1900s with just one vehicle surrounded by many horses and carriages and 13 years later with mainly vehicles in the scene and no horses.
This is a good time to enter the market and release this technology as in our day to day lives we are starting to develop that appetite for autonomy, with Google Home, appliances, cars from the auto industry and so forth.
And as far as safety concerns DOT would have fewer decisions to make in a field than a self-driving car does.
The future of autonomous equipment could also be used to revolutionize the construction, forestry and mining industry.