Anticipation mixed with a little anxiety as to how soon autonomous vehicles will be roaming farm fields in North America continues to build. Some experts and manufacturers forecast that within the next 3 years, the autonomous industry will begin to take shape in agriculture.
But just how long will it take for this progressive technology to become a lucrative machinery market? In less than 10 years, the driverless tractor market will be a multi-billion dollar industry, according to a recent study of robotic opportunity in the ag market.
The 2015 study conducted by Colorado-based market intelligence firm Tractica, forecasts that by 2024 autonomous tractor sales could reach nearly $31 billion. As we previously reported, at this year’s Farm Progress Show, both Case IH and New Holland unveiled large-scale autonomous tractor models.
But driverless tractors will likely also be scalable, making them more adaptable and affordable, according to Dave Farb, founder of Farb Guidance Systems, which is developing its own autonomous technology.
“You ask yourself why did we get so big in the first place with the technology in tractors and the pretty simple answer was so one person could get a lot of work done in a short period of time. When that person isn’t on the platform, you can have as many of those machines out there as you want and actually they become quite cost effective when that’s the case and in some cases actually cheaper than the cost today, per foot, per machine running in the field.”
While the Tractica report projects a robust market for driverless tractors in the near future, it will be interesting to see if revenues are driven by sales of large machinery, smaller-scale robotic technology or a combination of both.