The Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative, owned by sugar beet growers in North Dakota and Minnesota, has become the first in the United States to deploy fully autonomous trailer trucks for the transportation of sugar beets.
The cooperative collaborated with Florida-based military company Kratos Defense to implement the innovative slave-follower system in their existing fleet of trucks, as reported by the American medium Agweek.
Currently, Minn-Dak has permission to use autonomous trucks only in North Dakota, and an occupant is required in the truck. There is an expectation that the North Dakota Department of Transportation will allow follower trucks to operate without an occupant in the upcoming hauling season.
Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative sees autonomous technology as a catalyst for expansion, providing the flexibility to grow in capacity and operational efficiency. The cooperative is optimistic about further approvals from regulators and the potential for broader autonomous applications in agriculture.
See also this film from Kratos