Forget everything you know, or you think you know about tractors and farming, as John Deere has recently announced a new, fully autonomous tractor at CES 2022.
It seems that John Deere will make farmers’ lives easier with its recently announced fully autonomous 8R Tractor that combines the company’s TruSet-enabled chisel plow, GPS guidance system, and new advanced technologies to deliver amazing results. This autonomous tractor was created with the specific purpose of feeding the world, as the global population continues to grow, and it seems that we could have around 10 billion people living on our planet by 2050.
The farming industry is currently facing a labor shortage, which makes it difficult for some farmers to get everything done in the short periods of time that allow for the planting and harvesting processes. Remember that farming work is seasonal, which means that there’s a specific time window for planting and harvest, which usually means that workers need to be at it for longer periods of time, but they still need to get some sleep.
The new Autonomous 8R Tractor will also help to solve some of today’s production problems. This new system will help farmers to make the process faster and more convenient as it will eliminate the human element from the equation. This means that you can make the Autonomous 8R Tractor work for 24 hours straight without having to take bathroom or lunch breaks, and don’t worry about having to rest. In addition, this new tractor would help farmers, as they will only have to make sure their tractor has enough fuel to keep on working since its tank will keep it running for 8 hours straight, and it can’t refuel itself automatically.
And since we’re talking about checking fuel levels, John Deere has also designed a system to control the Autonomous 8R Tractor from your smartphone. The Operation Center app for both iPhone and Android devices will feature a new tab that will contain autonomy features.
This app will let users start their vehicles with a simple swipe, and they will be able to pause operations by pressing a button. They will also be able to see everything that happens around the vehicle as it is packed with cameras to see what surrounds the tractor.
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 within less than an inch of accuracy.
The 44-thousand-pound tractor isn’t available for purchase, but it seems that it will be available for rent. The regular 8R tractor with a 2430 chisel plow usually goes for $500,000, and some suggest that the rental price for one of these Autonomous 8R tractors may be as high as $50,000.
“The plan this year is to let a limited number of farmers use the autonomous system. During the initial rollout, Deere will rent a full tractor and chisel plow to about 10 to 50 producers who have steady internet connectivity on their farms and have an interest in using the technology.”
In the future, John Deere may let farmers bring their own tractors to be pimped with the autonomous technology, but we will have to wait and see how this evolves. Whatever the case, you can’t deny that this is a very cool solution for production problems.