John Deere has revealed its fully-autonomous tractor ready for “large-scale” production.
The agricultural machinery manufacturer took the wraps off its newest machine at a press conference at CES 2022 on January 2nd, 2022.
The machine combines Deere’s 8R tractor, TruSet-enabled chisel plow, GPS guidance system, and new advanced technologies.
John Deere stated that the autonomous tractor serves a specific purpose: feeding the world.
The global population is expected to grow from about 8 billion to nearly 10 billion people by 2050, increasing the global food demand by 50%.
It believes that the tractor will “help farmers grow more for a growing planet”.
John Deere autonomous tractor
The autonomous tractor has six pairs of stereo cameras, which enables 360-degree obstacle detection and distance calculation.
Images cameras capture pass through a deep neural network that classifies each pixel in approximately 100 milliseconds and determines if the machine continues to move or stops, depending on if it detects an obstacle.
The autonomous tractor is also continuously checking its position relative to a geofence. According to John Deere, this ensures that it is operating where it is supposed to and is within less than an inch of accuracy.
How does it work?
Farmers only need to transport the machine to a field and configure it for autonomous operation to use the autonomous tractor.
Using John Deere Operations Center Mobile, they can swipe from left to right to start the machine.
While the machine is working, the farmer can leave the field to focus on other tasks while monitoring the machine’s status from their mobile device.
John Deere Operations Center Mobile provides access to live video, images, data, and metrics. John Deere added that this allows a farmer to adjust speed, depth and more.
In the event of any job quality anomalies or machine health issues, farmers are notified remotely. They can make adjustments to optimise the machine’s performance.
The autonomous tractor will be available to farmers in 2022.
Fourth-generation farmer, Doug Nimz, who runs a 2,000-acre enterprise, growing corn and soybeans, featured in a launch video.
He said that autonomy will be “a life-changer” for him.
He said: “I never thought I would see an autonomous tractor in my farming career.”
“Autonomy will help because we are able to put a tractor out in the field and let it run for 24 hours a day because it is not manned.”
“The thing that excites me most about autonomy is not being locked in a tractor cab all day.”
“It will just allow me to run my business better because I can pay closer attention to other tasks. Now, I will be doing the tasks I always wanted to do but never had time to because I was in the cab all the time.”
“Farmers are fairly traditional. However, I have a feeling that once they try it, they will become very accepting of it. I think the tractor can do a better job than I can do,” he concluded.
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