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At The World Ag Expo Innovation Leads To A Tractor Fashion Show

Feb 11, 2015

ROEBL is the invention of Justin Gray. He created the electric remote control tractor because he saw a need for a hands free tractor.
Credit Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Fashion is a high dollar business, with million dollar runway shows across the globe. This year at the largest agricultural expo, the world of farming is borrowing an idea from the fashion industry, with a special show of its own. FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports.

Justin Gray, from Oakland, invented the ROEBL and operated it during the show.
Credit Ezra David Romero

I’m in the front row of a fashion show unlike any other.  Bright lights, models and a catwalk are replaced by blue skies, tractors and a dirt arena.

This fashion show, otherwise known as the Arena Equipment Showcase at the World Ag Expo in Tulare County, is all about showing off the latest looks in agricultural technology.

“Next up is Cooper Gray Robotics LLC introducing the first robotic electric skid,”  the arena announcer spoke out. 

Its Justin Gray’s first time at the expo. The Oakland based innovator created a green electric remote control bucket loader called a ROEBL. It’s basically a small driverless tractor.

"We have a high cool factor and we’re kind of marketing that to the younger generation, but also to the tech guys that love seeing nuclear reactors with robots crawling all over them," Gray says. 

"As this technology gets so easy and when we can get it in front of farmers they're going to realize that they can actually do this on their own." - Mark Hull
Mark Hull owns and operates All Drone Solutions in Exeter, Calif. It's his companies first time at the World Ag Expo.
Credit Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio
Across the 260 acre exhibit grounds, another type of technology is taking off. Mark Hull is the man behind All Drone Solutions in Exeter, Calif. 

"This is our debut at the show," Hull says.

The All Drone Solutions booth at the World Ag Expo consistently gathered a crowd, Hull says.
Credit Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Hull’s six winged remote controlled drone take a series of aerial photos, sends them to the cloud and by the time it lands, sends maps to your smartphone to help analyze irrigation or pest problems.

“As this technology gets so easy and when we can get it in front of farmers they’re going to realize that they can actually do this on their own," Hull says. 

Hull says farmer's like that new technology makes growing more efficient.  

And just like how the latest designs on the runway influence culture around the world, innovation in tech has the opportunity to transform the way food is grown globally.