While On-Road Driverless Slows, Ag-Tech Autonomy Players Are Plowing Ahead

The mood of investors is uncertain, especially given troubles in the banking sector.

Against this backdrop, the off-road world is becoming increasingly interesting for companies developing autonomy. Caterpillar and Komatsu brought the first commercial ADS’s to mining operations well over a decade ago. At that time, although the tech was very expensive, a business case could be made for equipping the huge mine-hauling trucks at open pit mines.

Since that time, thanks to the tidal wave of AV development for passenger cars, trucks, robo-shuttles, delivery robots, and more, the tech cost has now come down to reasonable levels for other types of industrial operations. Plus, the tech robustness has progressed by leaps and bounds. The result? Use cases are expanding rapidly in areas such as agriculture and construction. For this article, I’ll dig into the Ag space to examine the linkages with on-road autonomy.