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John Deere’s Fully Automated Tractor Will Start Plowing in 2022

Every year, more and more companies attend the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) to promise fully autonomous driving. John Deere is delivering: It showed off a self-driving tractor at CES 2022, which is ready for mass production and is expected to begin operations in late 2022.

Building a self-propelled tractor is much easier than making one self-driving shuttle because it operates in a controlled, privately owned environment. Farmers often do not encounter school buses, cyclists and other motorists in their fields. John Deere started with the 8R model and fitted it with six pairs of stereo cameras that gave the tractor a 360-degree view of the world around it. The images captured by these cameras are transmitted to and analyzed by what the company calls a deep neural network. It’s the brain that tells the tractor whether it can keep going or needs to stop to avoid an obstacle. This system also ensures the machine is in its correct position.

John Deere’s self-propelled tractor operates in a geofenced area so it knows where to turn and when to stop. We were told that setting it up was easy: The farmer simply took it to the field, configured it, and kicked off the job with a purpose-built smartphone app. It’s completely autonomous, so it doesn’t require human supervision (in a taxi or in the field) and the app gives owners access to photos, a live video feed, and a variety of data. They can even use their mobile device to adjust the speed of the tractor and its tools, such as the depth of the plow.

It’s not the same as removing a driver from a job that requires doing mechanical modifications. Power comes from PowerTech 9.0 liters straight six diesel oil twin turbochargers to develop 410 hp. It is bolted to the e23 PowerShift gearbox.

Pricing for the self-driving 8R hasn’t been announced, but we won’t have to wait long to find out: It’ll go on sale by the end of 2022. For context, the 8R isn’t self-propelled (which is already one of the more advanced versions). better than the tractors on the market) starts at around $521,600.

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