Agricultural hardware giant and a plague of advocates of the right to repair everywhere John Deere is ready to show off his finished, fully autonomous tractor. Here at CES, the company says that this unit will be put into mass production and will be available to farmers later this year. When in use, the farmer can put the hardware to work and then leave it to work, allowing them to do vital work elsewhere. The idea, the company says, is to help make agriculture more efficient and robust in the face of growing demand and dwindling resources.
Video of the progress of the autonomous team of John Deere from the beginning of 2020.
John Deere’s ambitions in this space have been going on for some time, and the company has been showing autonomous tractor at this fair 2019. He then said his technology – which combines ground-based sensors and GPS – was accurate to about 2.5cm or 0.9 inches. This new model has six pairs of stereo cameras around the vehicle that help detect objects, which are then processed by the local neural network. This, combined with the aforementioned GPS technology, allows it to maintain its position within the geofence around a particular field.
The model Deere shows combines the Deere 8R Tractor, the TruSet-enabled chisel plow and the secret sauce contained in its navigation technology. He says all the farmer needs to do is take him to the beginning of the field, configure him for autonomous work and then “swipe from left to right to start the machine”. Its progress can then be tracked from a mobile device, which can receive live video, data and metrics, allowing the farmer to adjust the speed and depth of drilling from his phone.
We don’t yet know how much the hardware will cost, but we can imagine that there will be great interest from large agricultural companies in the U.S. and abroad as they strive to reduce labor costs and seek efficiency in any way they can.
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