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John Deere at CES 2022

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The future has begun. John Deere unveiled its ground-breaking 8R autonomous tractor at CES 2022 (Las Vegas, January 5-8). The farm machinery manufacturer expects to introduce its self-driving machine to farms within months. The device combines Deere’s 8R tractor, a TruSet-enabled chisel plough, GPS control system and new advanced technologies. “It’s up and running today and ready for production. It’s not a concept machine, it’s not a demonstration, it’s a working machine that will be available to farmers later this year and will transform their lives,” said an enthusiastic Deanna Kovar – Vice President of Production and Precision Farming Production Systems at John Deere.

As farmers traditionally spend up to 18 hours a day sitting in the cab, they will be relieved that the 8R autonomous tractor will do all the driving work on its own. With John Deere Operations Center Mobile, the farmer can start the machine and activate autonomous operations in the field by swiping left to right. Through the same remote control interface, farmers can access live video, data and metrics to continuously monitor the 8R’s performance and even adjust speeds if necessary. If there are any problems with the machine’s status, the system automatically notifies the farmer.

Autonomous safety

With six pairs of ‘stereo cameras’ constantly feeding data to neural networks, the autonomous 8R provides on-farm security with 360-degree obstacle detection. The images captured by the cameras are fed through a deep neural network that classifies each pixel in about 100 milliseconds. “We’ve built in an anomaly detection system, when it encounters a new object that doesn’t fit into the standard object class [such as a branch], the machine simply stops.” – said Will Pell – senior director of autonomous systems at John Deere. “We’ve built an anomaly detection system, when it encounters new objects that don’t fit into the standard object class [such as a branch], the machine simply stops.” – said Will Pell – Senior Director of Autonomous Systems at John Deere. Using Artificial Intelligence and machine learning, the tractor is continuously improving its performance through new data collected in the field and remotely inputted by John Deere’s technology experts.

Saving time and consistent performance Farmers can monitor real-time data from the cab instead of focusing on driving the vehicle, and can do so from the cab of any other vehicle or even from an office. Image source: Jojn Deere website “The name of the game is consistency in an inconsistent environment to maximize performance,” added Deanna Kovar at the event, which was live-streamed from CES 2022 today, while highlighting three key benefits of autonomous farm vehicles for farmers. The machines don’t get tired or sick. They work around the clock. Efficiency. The tractor allows the farmer to spend his time more efficiently on or off the farm. Autonomy improves the farmer’s quality of life. Working in the cab is tiring. “Now with this autonomous tractor, we are giving valuable time back to farmers.” – he said.Is technology stealing farm jobs?

There will be those who ask about future employment opportunities – are these autonomous machines taking away farm jobs like the horse-drawn or steel plow did? The simple answer from the agricultural sector is no. In most countries, the average age of farmers is over 55 and there is little demand from young people for a career in farming. With a growing world population, the planet’s food supply depends on smarter farming solutions like these. “Until recently, agriculture was about doing more with more, the last decade has been about doing more with less,” summarises John Deere’s CTO Jahmy Hindman. Unfortunately, it is unlikely to appear in Europe for some time due to the regulatory environment. Source :

https://www.foodandfarmingtechnology.com/news/autonomous-vehicles/the-future-of-agriculture-starts-now-john-deere-launches-autonomous-8r-tractor.html