John Deere Launching an Autonomous Tractor
Deere & Company said that the fully autonomous tractor it introduced at the CES 2022 conference in Las Vegas this week will be available to farmers later this year. The core of the new vehicle is the company’s 8R tractor. The company – more commonly referred to as John Deere – said that the new tractor uses the TruSet-enabled chisel plow and GPS guidance system.
Deere Autonomous Tractor
The tractor adds autonomous elements through six pairs of stereo cameras. These cameras enable a 360-degree view that enables full obstacle detection and the ability to calculate distance. Images from the cameras pass through a “deep neural network” in which each pixel is analyzed in about 100 milliseconds. The tractor stops if an obstacle is detected. Movement of the tractor is continually measured against a geofence to ensure it is where it is supposed to be – to an accuracy of less than an inch.
It is possible to leave the tractor working in the field without a human present. In such instances, the operator brings the tractor to the field and sets it for autonomous operation. The tractor is starting by swiping left to right on a John Deere Operations Center Mobile device.
The mobile device provides live video, images, data and metrics. It enables a farmer to adjust speed, depth and other parameters. The operator is notified of quality anomalies or mechanical issues and can make adjustments remotely.
Agriculture is one of the biggest beneficiaries of telecommunications advances. The John Deere press release notes that more than 2 billion more people will need to be fed by 2050. That growth – from 8 billion to 10 billion mouths—will increase global food demand by 50%. This, the company says, is happening against a backdrop that includes a reduction in availability of both land and skilled labor and complexities brought by climate changes.
These issues make efficient use of time and manpower increasingly important. The company suggests that the new tractor could be an important tool in meeting these challenges.