You might think that GPS navigation is ideal for automated agriculture, since the task facing the operator of a farm vehicle like a combine harvester is simply to drive around the field in a serpentine pattern, mowing down all the wheat or whatever crop it is filled with. But reality is far different. There are hundreds of things operators must watch even as they keep their eyes fastened to the edge of the field to ensure that they move alongside it with fine precision. An agricultural combine is not dissimilar to a church organ in terms of its operational complexity. When a combine operator works with an assistant, one of them steers along the crop edge, while the other controls the reel, the fan, the threshing drum, and the harvesting process in general. In Soviet times, there were two operators in a combine crew, but now there is only one. This means choosing between safe driving and efficient harvesting. And since you can’t…

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