The first truly driverless vehicles to gain widespread use may not be Teslas or Ubers, but rather tiny autonomous tractors. Early versions of these autonomous tractors focused on dispensing seeds and fertilizer, mowing, and weeding. Future versions could be influential in advancing sustainable farming practices like precision agriculture, allowing farmers to diagnose and cultivate plants individually while reducing labor and fuel costs.
Companies like EarthSense and Small Robot Company are advancing the industry by developing autonomous agricultural tools to help map plant traits for breeders, create 3D models of fields, and eliminate weeds without the use of pesticides. Eventually, we may see entire fields that are completely run by fleets of autonomous tractors.