By Michaela Paukner, Farm Equipment magazine
John Deere is setting itself up to be a “world-leading” robotics and artificial intelligence company, and its autonomous offerings will develop quickly, according to company leadership.
Deere hosted the Leaps Unlocked event May 26 for investors and customers to talk about its technology. John May, Deere’s CEO, kicked off the presentations with the observation that the days of abundant resources and farming inputs are over. Since Deere’s 2020 analyst day, May says the company has reorganized the business, centralized technology development and overhauled capital allocations to skew more investments toward differentiated solutions that deliver more customer value.
Jahmy Hindman, Deere’s chief technology officer, says Deere intentionally developed proprietary technology – rather than create partnerships – because many of its end markets required customization and the company valued the customer experience. The integration of technology with hard iron and Deere’s dealer network is what differentiates Deere from competitors, according to Deanna Kovar, Deere’s vice president of production and precision ag systems.
The technology Deere is using to power its autonomous 8R tractor will eventually be deployed to the entire fleet doing other jobs, and it will scale quickly and deeply across the install base, according to Igino Cafiero, CEO of Bear Flag Robotics, an autonomous driving technology startup acquired by Deere in 2021. Cafiero says Deere has planned out a fully autonomous corn and soybean production system by 2030.
“That means spring tillage, planting, spraying, harvest and fall tillage all done autonomously,” Cafiero says.
To accelerate adoption of autonomy, Deere plans to include autonomous sensors in the base configuration of the 8R tractor in the next few years. Cafiero says that means a farmer will be able to unlock autonomous operations with the tap of a screen. Willy Pell, Deere’s vice president of autonomy and new ventures, says Deere’s goal is to have an autonomy kit on every large tractor that ships.
Deere is shipping its autonomous 8R tractor for tillage, See & Spray Ultimate and Combine Advisor this year. Jorge Heraud, Deere’s vice president of automation and autonomy, says Deere is also doing advance testing with customers on 4 additional products based on Sense & Act technology – 2 for harvest, 1 for planting and 1 for construction.
To view the complete report, click here.