John Deere became a first-time exhibitor at this year’s CES gadget show in Las Vegas, hauling in a self-driving 8370R tractor and a 20-ton S770 combine—part of its S700 Series introduced in 2017— aided by artificial intelligence.
John Deere joined some 4,500 companies exhibiting technology-related products and services. CES is the place startups and established tech giants alike go to launch just about anything.
The S770 combine came equipped cameras with computer-vision technology to track the quality of grain coming into the machine so that its kernel-separating settings can be adjusted automatically. Farmers can monitor the processes and adjustments remotely using a smartphone app.
The 8370R demonstrated its self-driving technology coupled with 2.5-cm (0.9-inch) accuracy GPS as well as using computer vision to see where different plants are.
Industry experts say Deere is leading an “AgTech revolution” and connectivity is an important element of this strategy. Cloud-enabled services to deliver near real-time analytic processing tailored down to the acre. And while rural areas in Australia are underserved by 3G/4G coverage, the advent of 5G fixed and mobile deployments should dramatically improve rural connectivity.
John Deere says a more consistent interface to John Deere’s cloud services will help farmers improve crop yields and reduce the use of herbicides – via automatic adjustment of farming equipment and real-time analytic processing.
You can view a walkthrough of the auto-piloted 8370R here:
John Deere is selling auto-steering and other self-guidance tech in Australia. Tractor owners today can add on modular systems that give computers control over some operations. From basic satellite guidance systems and a touchscreen interface to more complex add-ons (some add-ons let the tractor make very precise turns without the driver touching the steering wheel).
Others add-ons use radio base-stations set up around fields to provide even more accurate navigation than satellites.
Some farmers aren’t shy about their enthusiasm – even uploading videos showing it off! One appears to show a tractor hauling a planter making a tightly choreographed turn without a driver in the cab. In another, the driver takes pictures, throws paper airplanes and balances a water bottle on his nose before appearing to nod off while the tractor keeps working his field.