John Deere: autonomous tractor for the high-tech farm


John Deere, core of the American agricultural machinery manufacturer Deere & Company presented its latest tractor 8R at CES 2022. The fully automated vehicle is to be understood as a further contribution to the high-tech farm.

Modern farming: producing more with fewer people

Growing populations are demanding more and, above all, higher-quality food. At the same time, the agricultural workforce available for this purpose is declining worldwide. Modern farmers are responding to this discrepancy with the increased use of state-of-the-art technology. In the past, it was mainly satellite-based technology and biochemistry that were used to secure and increase yields. Today, the focus is on networking and sensor technology.

John Deere: two decades of automation experience

John Deere, one of the leading producers of agricultural technology in the USA, already has two decades of experience in the automation of tractors. The self-propelled implements are not only capable of autonomous and accurate seeding. They can also collect and analyze geodata. For example, Deere says its planters can plant 2800 soybeans and 700 corn seeds per second.

Deere: High-tech on the farm

Even before full automation, John Deere tractors were capable of other remarkable technical feats. For example, the 8R vehicle with its 18-meter-long 24 planting rows, as well as 140 controls and 300 sensors, was already able to take 1500 measurements per second.

8R: AI and machine learning in agriculture.

Once fully automated, the 8R tractor is capable of 15 million sensory measurements per second. This is made possible by a row of cameras on the front of the machine, as well as a collection of Nvidia chips that incorporate machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI). The processes undertaken with these are also already fully automated.

This AI and machine learning, in collaboration with six stereo cameras and 360-degree obstacle detection, make remote control of the unit possible in the first place by processing real-time data. In these processes, the supervising farmer only has to evaluate the data generated with it on his smartphone and, if necessary, adjust it according to his ideas, as well as refuel the respective unit. Before this technological upgrade, tractors were already selling for hundreds of thousands of dollars; after this, the price is likely to rise significantly.

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