“We knew it was coming, and here it is,” said Clark Stoller while standing in front of Kinze Manufacturing’s Product Center during its Dealer Days event in Williamsburg, Iowa, on July 29.

Stoller, president of Stoller International, a Case IH dealer from Pontiac, Illinois, was referring to the introduction of Kinze’s “Autonomous Grain Cart.”

More than 200 Kinze dealers saw a demonstration of the company’s model 1050 Grain Cart towed by a John Deere tractor with no operator.

In a simulated harvest, the autonomous tractor and cart ran along side of a combine to receive grain. It then returned to a staging area where it demonstrated how it would unload itself — with no operator.

The Kinze Autonomy Project is ongoing in collaboration with Jaybridge Robotics of Cambridge, Mass, aimed at the four primary cropping processes — plant, nourish, maintain and harvest — completely autonomous.

The goal of the project is to develop a completely autonomous system that can adapt and make “intelligent” operational decisions in real-time based on field conditions.

“We like the technology, and we embrace it,” said Bill Kuntz of J.J. Nichting Co. While he’s aware of the endless variables that are involved in the technology, he agreed that it has to start somewhere. The ability to free up an operator from this crucial part of grain production ultimately means increased production, efficiency and profit for the farmer.

There’s more to come according to Brian McKown, Kinze’s chief operating officer. The next step, he says, is to commercialize the system, making it available for all farmers. To find out more about the Kinze Autonomy Project and to see new products visit Kinze at this year’s Farm Progress show, August 30 – September 1 in Decatur, Ill.

Watch the video below to see the Kinze Automation Project demonstration.