Farb Guidance Systems of Post Falls, Idaho, unveiled a guidance system technology that removes the operator from the seat of farming equipment. This is a computerized guidance platform to compete with other companies and universities working to introduce computerized guidance systems for driverless farm equipment that can be monitored through a smart phone from the farm office or anywhere in the world.
"Equipment is now driving itself without an operator on the machine," said Brandon Smith, vice president of Farb Guidance Systems, during the Idaho Technology Council's inaugural Capitol Connect Conference in Boise, ID. "Be it across the road, or across the world, farmers can now take command and control of their equipment without being on the machine. Farmers and their families can have the quality life that they have earned and deserved with the assistance of Farb Guidance Systems' computerized guidance technology."
“Farmers can now” seems a little overstated by what the company is able to show with its first product being demonstrated, the FGS-1, a Caterpillar Skid Steer outfitted with the new guidance platform. Smith made his presentation to a group of prominent potential investors so the company can continue advancing the technology and offering additional products. The Idaho Technology Council's mission is to foster the development of technology companies in Idaho, primarily in the areas of information technology, agriscience, and energy.
“With the ability to remotely farm their land, farmers will see a greater return both financially and personally … and will realize a number of leading edge advantages," Smith said.
Dave Farb, founder and president of Farb Guidance Systems, further explained the product’s “management by exception” capabilities. "If the machine gets into a situation that it can’t handle, it sends notification and asks for instruction,” said Farb. “We give farmers the freedom to monitor their land and farm the land the way they want, from wherever they want, through the latest technology. When one or multiple units are in the field, farmers will realize they can see a greater return on generations of hard work."
Farb Guidance Systems, Inc. was formed in 2012 with the purpose of developing, manufacturing, and marketing the next generation of machine guidance technology for agriculture so that agricultural machinery can drive itself under human supervision. More about the company and guidance system is at FarbGuidanceSystems.com.
Considerable discussion has been about what autonomous/driverless farm equipment should be like, with a lot of talk about several smaller machines being operated autonomously in fields instead of one large implement. The FGS-1 is more in line with the concept of several smaller machines doing the same task in the same large field.
The first autonomous tractor for operating a grain wagon in sync with a combine to unload grain has been under development by Kinze and successfully field operated for the last two years.
The concept of a driverless skid loader doing GPS-computerized operations in a fertilizer plant is something that appears to be within short vision.