ETSI and John Deere develop talking tractor tech


John Deere is helping ETSI break new ground on the path to greater connectivity with a smart tractor that talks to cars.

Exhibiting the first system of its kind at ETSI’s annual IoT (internet of things) event at Sophia Antipolis technology park close to Nice in France, the idea is that better communication with on-road vehicles will improve safety – particularly in rural areas.

Every year, almost 400 fatal accidents are caused in Europe by agricultural vehicles that are not clearly visible on the road. Drivers are often surprised by tractors traveling at much lower speeds than their vehicles, as well as occupying the entire width of the road, which means that drivers cannot take evasive action or brake in time. Constructors of agricultural machinery are trying to mitigate these risks with the target of halving the number of fatal accidents by 2035.

“The European Commission wanted to improve road safety between farm vehicles and other vehicles. John Deere responded to this demand by equipping its tractors with modems,” said Christophe Gossard, head of European regulatory affairs at John Deere.

“But, more importantly, the different road-going vehicles and their means of communication had to be interoperable. So, it was only natural for us to join ETSI, the only European standardization organization with the necessary experience in these areas.”

Collaborative project

For the purpose of the demonstration, ETSI relied on a John Deere tractor and a communications platform from Sensinov. Both companies are ETSI members.

Relying on a communication protocol standardized by ETSI, the tractor can send warnings to road vehicles up to a distance of 1km.

ETSI’s director general, Luis Jorge Romero, said, “ETSI is renowned for its telecommunications standards, but since we started working on 5G and the Internet of Things, we have welcomed some new actors into our groups. They are from the worlds of agriculture, smart cities, e-health and connected transport.

“Today, information and communication technologies include all the smart equipment that we find every day, both at home and at work.”

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James joined the Industrial Vehicle Technology International team in 2017. Previously he was Assistant Editor on an engineering title for several years and has worked for various other trade magazines before that. James is happily married and has a young daughter and son who keep him busy.

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