Driverless tractors pointing to the future

Driverless tractors and remote piloted drones are the future of agriculture for South Tyrol as apple orchardists continue to chase the dream of improved productivity.

That was the message from South Tyrol’s Innovation Development Marketing, heard on the final day of Interpoma on Saturday.

A session at Interpoma, the international trade show on the cultivation, storage and marketing of apples.

A session at Interpoma, the international trade show on the cultivation, storage and marketing of apples.

Michael Stauder, from IBM South Tyrol said technology would revolutionise the agriculture sector in South Tyrol and it would come in three key forms: electrification of engines, mechanical robot systems and the use of apps and smartphones, and the digitalisation of farms.

Mechanical robot systems including drones and driverless tractors will be one way in which efficiency will be achieved in the agriculture sector in the future.

The machines will be able to safely conduct work that may be deemed unsafe for farmers, and machines such as driverless tractors will be able to conduct menial work such as cutting grass without needing to be driven by a farmer. This will leave the farmer free to conduct other tasks that need his or her more immediate attention.

Drones are now coming onto the market with spraying capabilities that are dust- and weather-resistant and can spray paddocks on pre-entered GPS information.

Mr Stauder said machines such as the driverless tractors and drones would be informed by the use of smartphone apps that help to keep the farmer informed, and have up-to-date information about his or her property.

Interpoma is the international trade show on the cultivation, storage and marketing of the apple.

Caitlin Jarvis is the guest of the Italian Trade Agency for Interpoma, held in Bolzano, South Tyrol, Italy, from November 24-26.

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