Autonomous heavy equipment growing in popularity

Price remains a barrier in some industry sectors.


In construction, agriculture and other tight margin operations, autonomous vehicles can bridge the difference between loss and profitability. For operations with tight margins there is typically a relatively short timeframe in which the operator must accomplish the bulk of work—thereby yielding the most money.

Autonomous equipment can operate around the clock to produce a higher yield than manned machines. A farmer might use unmanned equipment to plant, cultivate and harvest a crop—and improve the health of the crop through selective identification of insects or weeds requiring spraying, rather than unnecessarily blanketing large parcels.

Equipped with GPS for precision movement, autonomous vehicles can also prevent tampering and theft of capital equipment and can even be programmed to remain within certain perimeters. If autonomous equipment exits that perimeter for any reason, an alarm alerts the operator to a security breach, so the breach can be reported and the equipment retrieved promptly.

Autonomous vehicles and heavy equipment offer almost limitless possibilities as a transformative force globally. As with any emerging technology, the cost curve for autonomous vehicles will continue to trend downward with commercialization, especially as potential users become more aware of the productivity, efficiency, safety, and other benefits autonomous vehicles can deliver.

Rugged and reliable embedded systems, components and connectors already exist to help make autonomous technologies more practical and affordable, which will fuel expansion—and the military, commercial, and agricultural sectors will continue to lead in that charge.

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