John Deere unveils fully autonomous tractor

The 8R on display at this week’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2022) in Las Vegas is John Deere’s first fully autonomous tractor. It is not a concept and the technology will be available to North American farmers later this year.

by Steven Vale

5 Jan 2022

The full details have yet to surface, but users still have to drive the tractor to the field where it is configured for autonomous operation using the John Deere Operations Centre App on a mobile phone.

 

360-degree obstacle detection and distance calculation are taken care of by six pairs of stereo cameras. Images 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. If there is something in the field the tractor is not sure about then it will stop and alert the mobile device user. 

The autonomous tractor is also continuously checking its position relative to a geofence, ensuring it is operating where it is supposed to with 2.5cm accuracy.

The tractor’s status can be monitored remotely from a mobile device, and the app not only provides access to live video, images, data and metrics, but also allows the tractor’s speed and working depth of the implement to be adjusted remotely. The app also allows the fuel level to be checked and see how much of the field has been covered and how much is left to do.

Currently, the technology for the 8R410 is available in combination with a special John Deere chisel plough. A limited number of tractors will be delivered to North American customers this year. In the coming years, John Deere will work on the availability of the technology for other machines and attachments. The launch in Europe is currently not planned, as safety regulations currently do not allow the use of autonomous vehicles.n the future.