Deere & Co. The first commercially successful steel plow in 1837 helped mechanize agriculture. On Tuesday, the company unveiled a machine that could prove just as transformative: a fully autonomous tractor.
John Deere’s new 8R tractor uses six pairs of stereo cameras and advanced Artificial intelligence To realize its environment and to navigate. When it is given a path and coordinates it can find a field path on its own, then cultivate the soil or sow seeds without instructions, avoiding obstacles on its way. A farmer can place a new order on the machine using the smartphone app.
Some tractors already operate autonomously but only in limited circumstances অনুসরণ following a route defined by GPS, for example, without the ability to navigate around obstacles. Others have the feature of limited autonomy for which a farmer still has to sit behind the wheel.
“This is a significant change,” said Jahmi Hindman, chief technology officer for the new machine, which will be released in 2022. Consumer Electronics Show In Las Vegas. “I think it’s as big as the transition from horse to tractor.”
Self-propelled tractors can help farmers save money and automate endangered jobs Ongoing agricultural labor shortage. But automating agriculture and adding AI could also create controversy over the replacement of workers as well as ownership and the use of the data it generates.
Dear did not say how much the new tractor would cost; Its the most expensive current model can Invoice up to $ 800,000. Hindman says the company is exploring a number of potential models, including a subscription plan.
With recent advances, autonomy in tractors and other farm equipment has continued for decades. Building on the advances of robotics and self-driving vehicles.
Depends on the fully autonomous 8R Neural network algorithm To mean streaming information to its camera. Deer has been collecting and annotating the data needed to train these algorithms for several years, Hindman said.
A similar AI method is being used by company building Self-driving car. Tesla, for example, collects data through its vehicles which are used to further improve it Autopilot self-driving system. And while an empty field poses less of a challenge than a busy city turn, Hindman acknowledges that, like self-driving cars, the system can exist. It is difficult to see around in extreme weather Such as snow or rain.
Qin Zhang, Director of the Center for Precision and Automated Agricultural Systems at Washington State University, who previously worked on a prototype autonomous tractor funded by Derry, said the technical problems seem to have largely been resolved. But he says some farmers may find the system too expensive or too difficult to program.
Deere has been incorporating more AI and autonomy into its products over the past decade. In August, the company said It reportedly paid $ 250 million to acquire Beer Flag Robotics, A startup that restores tractors to make them more autonomous. In 2017, it Blue River paid $ 305 million to buy the technology, Which enables robots to detect and eliminate unwanted plants using high-precision blasts of herbicides.
The new 8R tractor probably signals a big change in Deere’s ambitions It doesn’t just enable the company’s most iconic product Robot; It provides a vital cycle for training new AI algorithms and developing new products.