Agriculture is full of opportunities for driverless approaches. German farm equipment vendor Fendt (a subsidiary of AGCO) hast developed a technology ‘Guide-Connect’ to let a tractor operate without driver. The tractor is not fully autonomous; instead it follows another human operated tractor and replicates its actions. A GPS sensor allows it to identify the location where the lead tractor initiates operations such as engaging gears, lowering tools etc. The driverless tractor then performs the same action when it arrives at the corresponding location. The movie below (narration in German) shows the tandem in operation.
Guide-Connect won a Gold Medal for innovation at the 2011 Agritechnica industry fair. The technology is not limited to simple follow-me scenarios. It can also handle obstacles and turns.