#CES2022: John Deere unveils market-ready fully autonomous tractor


During a press conference at CES 2022 yesterday (January 4), John Deere revealed a fully autonomous tractor that’s ready for large-scale production. The machine combines Deere’s 8R Tractor, TruSet-enabled chisel plow, GPS guidance system, and new advanced technologies. The autonomous tractor will be available to farmers later this year.

The autonomous tractor has six pairs of stereo cameras, which enables 360-degree obstacle detection and the calculation of distance. Images captured by the cameras are passed 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 an obstacle is detected. The autonomous tractor is also continuously checking its position relative to a geofence, ensuring it is operating where it is supposed to, and is accurate to within less than 1in.

To use the autonomous tractor, farmers only need to transport the machine to a field and configure it for autonomous operation. 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, and allows a farmer to adjust speed, depth, and more. In the event of any job-quality anomalies or machine-health issues, farmers will be notified remotely and can make adjustments to optimize the performance of the machine.

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%. Furthermore, farmers must feed this growing population with less available land and skilled labor, and work through the variables inherent in farming like changing weather conditions and climate, variations in soil quality, and the presence of weeds and pests. All of these factors impact a farmer’s ability to farm during the most critical times of the year.

John Deere at CES, Las Vegas

The fully autonomous tractor is on display at CES (January 5–8, 2022) at John Deere’s CES booth, located in Central Plaza at the Las Vegas Convention Center (CP-14). The booth will also showcase cutting-edge technologies that are being used by farmers today, such as AI, GPS, automation, and more.

John Deere will participate in three panel discussions during CES, focused on AI, 5G, and autonomy:

  • On Wednesday, January 5 at 9:00 a.m. PT, John Deere’s Chief Technology Officer Jahmy Hindman will speak on a panel focused on exploring AI’s potential in business. Titled Frontiers in Business AI, the panel will take place in the Las Vegas Convention Center’s North Hall in Room N251.
  • On Wednesday, January 5 at 3:00 p.m. PT, Bear Flag Robotics’ Co-Founder and COO Aubrey Donnellan will speak on a WIRED panel focused on the path to full autonomy. Titled The Long Road to Fully Autonomous Driving, the panel will be streamed live on WIRED.com.
  • On Thursday, January 6 at 10:20 a.m. PT, John Deere’s Vice President, Production & Precision Ag Production Systems Deanna Kovar will speak on a panel about how 5G will transform tech innovation. Titled Seizing the Opportunity of Tech Innovation with 5G, the panel will take place in the Las Vegas Convention Center’s North Hall in Room N262.

Additionally, Deere will hold a series of Tireside Chats at its booth, exploring key technologies and how they impact agriculture:

  • Wednesday, January 5 from 3:30–3:45 p.m. PT: Driving (Autonomously) With Purpose
  • Thursday, January 6 from 11:00–11:15 a.m. PT: This Isn’t Old MacDonald’s Farm
  • Thursday, January 6 from 3:00–3:15 p.m. PT: Swipe To Begin Farming

All of the content and demos from Deere’s CES booth will also be available on the company’s microsite: www.JohnDeere.com/CES.

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Tom Stone is Editor of the iVT brand – which includes digital and print editions of a quarterly magazine and the Advanced Lift-truck supplement, as well as ivtinternational.com, which is updated daily. Tom has met and interviewed some of the world's leading industrial vehicle OEM presidents, CEOs and MDs, and takes great pride in cementing iVT's place as the leading forum for debate within the industry, a reputation that his been built up over the brand's 25-year history.

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