No matter the fanfare behind Google's self-driving car, for farmers this level of automation is no novelty. According to the Washington Post, John Deere has been selling self-driving farm equipment for years in part thanks to the lack of regulations.
The systems come with their own risks, including concerns that they could be hacked. But because farm-equipment makers operate almost exclusively on private land, they've been able to bring products to market much quicker than consumer automakers - and without the same level of regulatory scrutiny.
There are no federal rules specifically addressing self-driving tech for tractors, largely because farm equipment is designed for use in fields where it doesn't pose the same level of risk to other vehicles or people as a self-driving vehicle on a public road. The closest thing to national regulations are safety standards set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, but the agency does not have any rules directly aimed at self-driving technology.
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