Coming soon: Driverless tractors that measure crops and dispense fertilizer

Imagine a tractor pulling a fertilizer wagon traveling along a field of thousands of sorghum test plants. As the tractor moves through the field plots, an onboard computer linked to sensors measures everything from plant height and development to nitrogen needs.

Now imagine the tractor is driverless, perhaps monitored by a human, but with minute-to-minute, hour-to-hour decisions are being made by computer software.

That future is closer than you think, according to Alex Thomasson, a Texas A&M AgriLife Research agricultural engineer who has been developing hardware and software for precision agriculture and remote sensing for much of his career.

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