John Deere One Step Closer to Fully Autonomous Farming
John Deere has acquired a state-of-the-art algorithm package from AI startup Light as it continues to advance its roadmap toward autonomous farming.
The purchase is expected to help advance the group’s deployment of AI in its product line and improve the speed and safety of its equipment while concurrently reducing human intervention.
Originally a camera provider for smartphones, Light has become a major figure in the AV sector, with its multi-array system of cameras designed to mimic the structure of a human eye to enable more accurate 3D vision. This mechanism has been heralded by Light as affording greater depth-perception than lidar – the system currently favored for AV vision – with Light’s solution capable of calculating the distance to every pixel seen.
Under the new deal, John Deere will integrate Light’s platform into its agricultural equipment, using the vision-only approach to automate vehicles that identify and navigate crops in real-time.
John Deere has been edging closer to fully autonomous farming for years now, with its tractors featuring self-steering and seed-planting capabilities for nearly two decades.
At the beginning of this year alone, the group collaborated with semi-autonomous agricultural-sprayer manufacturer GUSS Automation LLC to bring IoT-enabled chemical sprayers to its operations and bought a fully autonomous tractor which it displayed at CES.