John Deere grows autonomous operation with new tractor launch
8R tractor equipped with advanced technologies to reach market later in 2022
Autonomous operation is fertile ground for growth in the equipment industry, and John Deere has dug in with a fully autonomous tractor, introduced at the 2022 Consumer Electronics Show, that will hit the market later in the year featuring an array of advanced technologies.
Deere's 8R tractor is paired with a TruSet-enabled chisel plow, GPS guidance and other technologies to bring the autonomous system to life and provide a new way for farmers to work their fields and expand food supply worldwide. Deere noted that global population is growing, and increasing food demand; farmers are finding it more challenging to meet that demand with less available land and shortages of skilled labour, as well as climate change and other aspects.
The tractor is fitted with six pairs of stereo cameras, enabling 360-degree obstacle detection and calculation of distance. Images captured by the camera are passed through a deep neural network that classifies each pixel in approximately 100 milliseconds and determines if the machine needs to keep moving or stop for an obstacle. Each unit also checks its position constantly in relation to a geofence, to ensure it is operating where it's supposed to, to within less than an inch in accuracy.
Use of the autonomous tractor only requires that the farmer move the machine into a field and configure it for autonomous operation. Using John Deere's Operations Center Mobile, starting the machine involves a simple swipe, and once operating the farmer can leave and focus on other tasks while monitoring the tractor's status on a mobile device.
Operations Center Mobile provides access to live video, images, data and metrics, and allows the farmer to adjust speed, depth and more. In the event of any job quality anomalies or machine health issues, farmers are notified remotely and can make adjustments to optimize performance.