Smart Ag’s AutoCart system can help farmers work more efficiently
By Diego Flammini
An Iowa-based software company is giving farmers another tool to streamline their harvest.
Smart Ag, which is based out of Ames, is releasing, on a limited basis, its AutoCart system. The cloud-based system is designed for driverless tractors pulling grain carts.
The system lets farmers use their own tablets to set staging and unloading locations in fields, adjust equipment speeds, monitor locations and command the grain cart to sync its speed and direction to that of a combine.
Combine operators can signal the autonomous tractor and grain cart to come and receive the harvested grain. And after the grain cart is loaded, AutoCart automatically directs the grain cart to an unloading point in the field.
The technology allows producers to update their equipment easily, regardless of manufacture, according to Colin Hurd, founder and CEO of SmartAg.
“We believe agriculture is best when farmers have choices,” Hurd said in a release yesterday. “The best way to improve our customers’ operational capacity is to enable them to use automation and driverless technology on their farms.”
Practical trials on local farms proved successful.
Kyle Mehmen is a fifth-generation corn and soybean producer from Plainfield, Iowa.
The product could be a “game changer for agriculture,” he said in the release, having trialed the AutoCart on his farm.
And there could be more automation on the way.
Smart Ag’s product, SmartHP, is a plug and play system that allows farmers “to turn almost any machine into a driverless one,” according to the product description.
The company also has plans to produce automation systems for spraying, tillage and planting.
“Once we have the core machine automated, it’s really a software challenge to do other operations with it,” Hurd said. “You’re not just investing in an autonomous grain cart … you’re investing in an autonomous farming solution.”