Autonomous farm equipment market is likely to emerge as one of the most revolutionary verticals of the agriculture business space, that will positively reshape the dynamics of farming in the decades to come. Though the notion of automating farm equipment has been around since the 1940s, the idea has been brought to fruition only in the last decade or so. Major autonomous farming equipment industry players are now conducting extensive R&D programs to develop even more technologically advanced automated equipment. With the advent of robotics technology, the application of GPS, and the expansive deployment of Internet of Things (IoT), the popularity of autonomous farm equipment market has reached tremendous heights, enabling companies to make these components even more reliable and user friendly. In 2016 alone, autonomous farm equipment market size was valued at USD 55 billion and is speculated to rise considerably over the years to come.
U.S. Autonomous Farm Equipment Market, By Product, 2016 & 2024, (Units)
Autonomous equipment is designed to give farmers more freedom to manage the farms rather than drive around the farm on a variety of vehicles. Broadly, the operational landscape of autonomous farm equipment market is segmented into partially and fully autonomous farm equipment. Partially autonomous devices already contribute to a large share of the overall autonomous farm equipment market, subject to their widespread commercialization and competitive pricing. Farm equipment such as the ones that can separate corn from cob, steer themselves, or pick potatoes while leaving the waste on the field are already widely in use. Fully autonomous farm equipment, such as the ones that can make farming decisions on their own without any human supervision are no more a thing of the future either. Pertaining to rapid technological advancements and farming innovations, fully autonomous farm equipment industry size is projected to increase at a growth rate of more than 40% over 2017-2024.
Tractors, UAVs, and harvesters essentially comprise the product spectrum of autonomous farm equipment industry. Tractors in fact, are the most commonly used equipment and have a perpetually escalating demand. As per estimates, tractors are expected to dominate autonomous farm equipment market share over 2017-2024, subject to their ease of use and extensive deployment in the agricultural sector. Drones or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) on the other hand, are expected to bring about a commendable upsurge in autonomous farm equipment industry. Technologically advanced drones are increasingly being used for soil and field analysis, planting, crop spraying and monitoring, irrigation and health assessment of crops. Drones can reach any corner of the field very quickly and can effectively identify problems and brainstorm solutions when they are incorporated with 3D maps, ultra-sonic echo machines, cameras, thermal sensors, scanners, and a plethora of other equipment, pertaining to which UAV autonomous farm equipment market is estimated to witness a 35% growth by 2024.
Key industry players like John Deere, Agrobot, Case IH, CLAAS, AGCO and Mahindra are working towards launching high-grade technological products in autonomous farm equipment industry. It is estimated that a major portion of the farming budget is required not only to buy equipment but also for the upkeep and repair. In this regard, companies partaking in autonomous farm equipment industry share are focusing on bringing forth better hardware technology. As per statistics, hardware technology currently dominates the autonomous farm equipment market, accounting for 95% of the total share.
Speaking of regional dominance, it is prudent to mention that North America held the dominant position in autonomous farm equipment industry in 2016, with a revenue of more than USD 26 billion. The widespread use of tractors and combine harvesters endowed with auto steering and rising use of drones can be credited for this large revenue generation. Germany, Italy, France and Russia will reportedly contribute toward augmenting Europe autonomous farm equipment market share over 2017-2024, driven by huge investments in agriculture and substantially massive demand for advanced technology in yielding better harvest. Across the APAC autonomous farm equipment industry, China, Japan, Australia and South Korea have successfully marked significance, given that farming is a major source of livelihood in these countries. Moreover, the demand for better agricultural facilities, rising population and positive government initiatives to yield better results in the agricultural sector are expected to stimulate APAC autonomous equipment market share, slated to record a growth rate of 25% over 2017-2024.
The high cost of autonomous farm equipment and the training time required to learn the use of such equipment can somewhat hinder the growth of the autonomous farm equipment industry. Nonetheless, major companies have been working toward introducing more cost effective and efficient devices, owing to which autonomous farm equipment market is set to make a significant headway in the forecast period of 2017-2024.