Like the growing trend of self-driving cars, John Deere is taking a big leap into self-driving tractors.

During a press conference Tuesday at Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2022 in Las Vegas, Moline-based Deere revealed a fully autonomous tractor that’s ready for large-scale production. The machine combines Deere’s 8R tractor, TruSet-enabled chisel plow, GPS guidance system, and new advanced technologies, a company release said Tuesday, noting the autonomous tractor will be available to farmers later this year.

The self-driving tractor serves a specific purpose: feeding the world. The global population is expected to grow from about 8 billion to nearly 10 billion people by 2050, increasing the global food demand by 50 percent, the company said.

Furthermore, farmers must feed this growing population with less available land and skilled labor, and work through the variables inherent in farming like changing weather conditions and climate, variations in soil quality and the presence of weeds and pests, Deere said.

All of these factors impact a farmer’s ability to farm during the most critical times of the year.

  • 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.

To use the autonomous tractor, farmers only need to transport the machine to a field and configure it for autonomous operation. Using John Deere Operations Center Mobile, they can swipe from left to right to start the machine. While the machine is working the farmer can leave the field to focus on other tasks, while monitoring the machine’s status from their mobile device.

John Deere is displaying its new fully autonomous tractor at the new Consumer Electronics Show this week in Las Vegas.

John Deere Operations Center Mobile provides access to live video, images, data and metrics, and allows a farmer to adjust speed, depth and more. In the event of any job quality anomalies or machine health issues, farmers will be notified remotely and can make adjustments to optimize the performance of the machine.

The full press conference can be viewed on John Deere’s CES microsite: www.JohnDeere.com/CES.

John Deere CES 2022 Booth, Panel & Tireside Chats

The fully autonomous tractor will be on display from Jan. 5-7 at Deere’s CES booth, located in Central Plaza at the Las Vegas Convention Center (CP-14). The booth will also showcase cutting-edge technologies that are being used by farmers today, such as AI, GPS, automation and more. 

John Deere will participate in three panel discussions during CES, focused on AI, 5G and autonomy:

  • On Wednesday, Jan. 5 at 9 a.m., John Deere’s Chief Technology Officer, Jahmy Hindman, will speak on a panel focused on exploring AI’s potential in business.
  • On Wednesday, Jan. 5 at 3 p.m., Bear Flag Robotics’ Co-founder and COO, Aubrey Donnellan, will speak on a WIRED panel focused on the path to full autonomy. Titled The Long Road to Fully Autonomous Driving, the panel will be streamed live on WIRED.com.
  • On Thursday, Jan. 6 at 10:20 a.m., John Deere’s Vice President, Production & Precision Ag Production Systems, Deanna Kovar, will speak on a panel about how 5G will transform tech innovation.

Additionally, Deere will hold a series of Tireside Chats at its booth, exploring key technologies and how they impact agriculture:

  • Wednesday, Jan. 5 from 3:30 – 3:45 p.m. PT: Driving (Autonomously) With Purpose
  • Thursday, Jan. 6 from 11:00 – 11:15 a.m. PT: This Isn’t Old Macdonald’s Farm
  • Thursday, Jan. 6 from 3:00 – 3:15 p.m. PT: Swipe To Begin Farming

All of the content and demos from Deere’s CES booth will also be available on its microsite: www.JohnDeere.com/CES.