John Deere, probably the largest manufacturer of agricultural machinery in the world, is developing a new autonomous tractor.
Product development and research in the fields of electrification, autonomy through automation and artificial intelligence show how agriculture could work even more sustainably and productively in the future.
Autonomy through automation
Autonomous tractor: John Deere’s new autonomous tractor concept is a very compact electric drive unit with integrated attachment. The tractor has a total output of 500 kW and can be equipped with either wheels or tracks.
Flexible ballasting from five to 15 tonnes is possible, depending on the application, to help reduce soil compaction.
Because of its electric drive, there are no operating emissions and noise levels are extremely low. Further advantages include low wear and maintenance costs.
Semi-autonomous tractor: This tractor drives semi-autonomously and is equipped with an integrated crop sprayer.
Using a built-in camera, it is possible to work in row crops – for example, applying plant protection products to fruit tree plantations.
Filling the sprayer tank takes place fully automatically at a filling station, so the user is not exposed to pesticides. This is designed to reduce costs and increase productivity by over 30 per cent.
Autonomous drone sprayer: This drone is equipped with a weed scanner and crop sprayer, allowing weeds to be scanned from the air and then specifically controlled.
The 10.6-litre tank is filled fully automatically at a field boundary station, where the automatic battery charge also takes place. Flight time with a fully charged battery is 30 minutes.
The main advantage of this drone is the precise application of pesticides, which significantly reduces the amounts used. Spraying from the air is also possible regardless of ground conditions.
Autonomous sprayer: This novel autonomous sprayer has a 560-litre spray tank. The high ground clearance of 1.9m and four-wheel steering make it extremely versatile, while the tracks minimise ground pressure and greatly extend the operating window.