Agtech in focus: Agriculture is driving slowly toward autonomous machines

Autonomous machines are a potential game changer in crop farming, boosting productivity, precision, and ease of operations, but bringing them successfully to the market implies a long road. Although some robots have the same functionality as tractors, we do not expect the conventional tractor to be replaced anytime soon. The global agricultural machinery industry is currently focusing on innovating specific stages of the crop production cycle and gradually developing autonomous capabilities across field operations.

At present, the global agtech landscape is fragmented, with many startups and various autonomous machines tailored for specific field tasks, but acquisitions and partnerships offer the industry a way forward and a means to provide more integrated solutions that can be distributed effectively among farmers.

However, safety regulations are a key precondition for wider commercialization of autonomous machines. While market fragmentation and an underdeveloped distribution network also pose limitations, the primary reason for the delayed uptake is regulatory uncertainty. Industry standards and legal frameworks are currently under development and expected to be in place in the next few years. Though regulations will vary across regions, the core issues to be addressed are applicable across the globe. To explore these issues, we examine the regulatory environment in the EU and what it means for the industry.

  • Doriana Milenkova

    Analyst – Farm Inputs, Sugar
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  • Cindy van Rijswick

    Global Strategist – Fresh Produce, Farm Inputs
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