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The Dangerous Rise of Autonomous Farm Equipment

Farming has come a long way from the days when humans or horses powered all of the equipment that was used. Huge tractors, combines, harvesters and other equipment is all necessary to run many large farming operations today. While you might think that this means that you will need a lot of manpower, you might be wrong.

Autonomous vehicles are becoming more and more commonplace in farming. This doesn’t mean that safety is increasing, though. In fact, the automation of many of these pieces of heavy equipment might prove to be more unsafe than those that are operated by humans.

Just like the issues that have come to light about autonomous cars on the roads, there is a chance that the farm equipment’s program might not react appropriately to hazards in the way of the machine. This can mean that farmers and farm workers might end up with a serious injury or could even be involved in a fatal accident caused by the autonomous equipment.

It is true that these self-driving vehicles offer greater precision than what is possible with human-driven equipment. In some cases, the margin of error is a mere two inches. The smart features are also impressive. Many programs will text the farmer or another contact when there is something that isn’t right, such as a tractor moving too fast.

The introduction of automated equipment is exciting, but it poses a challenge for workers. If they are injured in the field by one of these vehicles, they have to determine how to handle the situation. Do they file for workers’ compensation or do they seek compensation through a third-party lawsuit? The answer might not be clear, but finding it will be important in these cases.