John Deere

Nothing Runs Itself Like a Deer

Move over, Tesla: John Deere’s on the autonomous move.

Look, Ma, no operator: From satellite positioning to hands-free operating, John Deere has upped the autonomous tractor game with its announcement of technology that will allow a tractor to be operated without a human body in the cab.

Auto tractors, roll out: The tractors use stereo cameras in the front and rear that send images through a smartphone app to the farmer. The farmer can use the app to start the tractor on a programmed path. If there’s an obstacle, the tractor can steer around it or stop, and an alert is sent to the farmer through the app.

InTILLigent movement: The initial technology will be applied to a tiller, which will have mirrors installed on the shanks. If something hits that mirror, it will change the reflection, and the remote operator will be able to see that. According to John Deere reps, the technology can be installed on an existing tractor and tiller machine in one day. Say it ain’t sow.

Autonomous tractors can help improve efficiencies and overall quality of life for farmers, while also keeping things running smoothly when they can’t find adequate or available labor.

Next in line: Spraying automation. The price tags are TBD.