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Ag In Motion attendees experience driverless tractor

Ag In Motion attendees experience driverless tractor

Norbert Beaujot is taking his invention to Germany for AGRITECHNICA

By Diego Flammini
Assistant Editor, North American Content
Farms.com

Seeing tractors drive around the grounds of Saskatchewan’s Ag in Motion isn’t a new experience. But witnessing a tractor perform all of its normal duties without an operator in the cab is new.

 “Farmers were here from North Battleford…and they said, ‘You’re starting a revolution,’” Norbert Beaujot, founder of DOT Technology Corp., told CBC on July 19. “I hadn’t thought of it that way.”

One producer used a remote control to steer the tractor from the comfort of a chair under an umbrella.

Beaujot, a farmer and engineer, founded SeedMaster, a manufacturer of seeding equipment in 1991.

And despite SeedMaster’s success, it’s still the unknown that excites the 69-year-old.

“In a way, everything I’ve done in my life has led up to this because of my background and knowledge,” he told CBC. “I semi-retired a few years ago. When I came up with this concept, I figured I gotta do it.”

The possibility of a driverless tractor has some farmers scratching their heads.

“It’s exciting and scary,” Ivan Bartel, a producer with a 5,000 acre farm near Drake, Sask., told CBC. “I’m used to going out in the field.”

The next generation of farmers, like Bartel’s 28-year-old son, may put this type of machinery to better use, he said.

Some driverless tractors could pop up in some Saskatchewan fields next year, Beaujot told CBC.

The next stop for him and his driverless tractor is AGRITECHNICA in Germany this November.

Beaujot isn't the first to introduce the farming community to driverless tractors.

Case IH unveiled autonomous tractors at the 2016 Farm Progress Show in Iowa.