John Deere Unveils Fully-Autonomous Tractor at CES

John Deere Unveils Fully-Autonomous Tractor at CES

This time of year always conjures memories of my near-decade-long stint at CES. Priceless memories, but in all my pilgrimages to Sin City, I never saw anything like this….

At CES 2022, John Deere unveiled a fully-autonomous tractor ready for large-scale production, and while America’s most famous purveyor of farming equipment has toyed with automation before, this is their first fully-autonomous model.

According to The Robot Report, the autonomous Deere combines an 8R Tractor, TruSet-enabled chisel plow, and a GPS guidance system with six pairs of stereo cameras, allowing for 360° obstacle detection (and two Nvidia Jetson GPUs identifies each pixel in 100 milliseconds, helping the tractor navigate around potential obstacles).

The autonomous Deere can be monitored and controlled via smartphone, and it only needs human interaction to refuel.

Course, John Deere’s version isn’t the first piece of autonomous farming equipment, but every little bit helps – like many industries, farming is currently suffering from a labor shortage (especially skilled labor), and automating the tractor functions frees up the farmer and other skilled workers for trickier tasks.

And the initial feedback has apparently been very positive.

John Deere’s vice president of production and precision agriculture production systems, Deanna Kovar, noted that:

“I would say farmers will start by spending more time watching [the autonomous tractor]. Farmers we have worked with are confident. They are probably not going to run off to Hawaii, but as they watch a field [with a fully autonomous tractor], it’s noneventful.  Farmers are excited about autonomy.”

The John Deere autonomous tractor should be available later this year.