Spotted: At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES), farming machine manufacturer John Deere revealed a new tractor that is not only fully-autonomous, but is also ready for large-scale production. Deere’s goal for its new tractor is nothing less than ‘feeding the world’. According to the company, the autonomous tractor will allow farmers to feed growing global populations with less land, less skilled labour, and more variation in weather and soil conditions.
The new tractor combines Deere’s existing 8R tractor and TruSet-enabled chisel plow, with a GPS guidance system and other advanced technologies. The autonomous tractor is also equipped with six pairs of stereo cameras and a deep neural net, for 360-degree obstacle detection and precise distance calculation. The tractor continuously checks its position relative to a geo-fence, keeping it within one inch of its designated operating area.
Farmers can use the John Deere Operations Center Mobile to operate the machine from different mobile devices, leaving them able to monitor the machine while doing other tasks. The mobile controls also provide access to metrics such as live video, images, data, and metrics, and allows a farmer to adjust speed and depth. Farmers can then adjust the machine’s performance.
John Deere claims that its autonomous 8R Tractor can prepare over 325 acres of soil in 24 hours, greatly improving productivity. According to the company, “Depending on the crop a farmer is growing, it can take 7–15 passes across a single field to grow a healthy, abundant crop. With the autonomous 8R Tractor in tillage, farmers are instantly two times more productive because they can do two jobs at once – focusing their attention on more critical, time-sensitive work.”
Autonomous tech is just one of a number of innovations aimed at making agriculture more sustainable and more efficient. Other developments recently spotted by Springwise include a bee delivery system for fungicide and the use of smart tech to monitor fishing.
Written By: Lisa Magloff