John Deere Launches Automated Tractors, Expands Weed-Sensing Tech

The updates come as part of John Deere’s largest product announcement in years

Scarlett Evans, Assistant Editor, IoT World Today

March 5, 2024

3 Min Read
John Deere launched a number of new technologies, including autonomy-ready tractors
John Deere launched a number of new technologies, including autonomy-ready tractorsJohn Deere

John Deere has unveiled a series of new products in one of its largest product launches to date. The announcement took place at the Commodity Classic trade show in Houston, Texas.

New equipment models include the “autonomy-ready” 9RX series tractors, AI-enabled See & Spray weed sensing technology and S7 Series combines.

“These products are the direct result of developing solutions in response to our customers’ needs,” said Cory Reed, John Deere’s president of the worldwide agriculture and turf division. “With the combination of these new products, our existing portfolio of equipment and technology solutions, and our world-class network of dealers, John Deere customers are well positioned to be among the most productive, profitable, and sustainable in the world.”

Autonomy-Ready Tractors

John Deere’s new tractors feature an autonomous-ready option that allows operators to switch from manual to autonomous operation rapidly and easily, preparing farmers for the switch to autonomy whenever they’re ready.

"The autonomous-ready package offers all the hardware, software and safety features that we know today will be required for autonomous operation in the future,"  said Michael Porter, John Deere’s tractor line manager. 

The autonomous-ready package comes with equipment including rear implement ethernet, visibility features and “all the necessary connectors, controllers and harnesses.”

The only item a farmer will need to add to enable full autonomy is a perception system – which includes cameras and vision processing units.

"The move to autonomous operations should be deliberate and well-planned," Porter said. "But when it's time to make the switch, we want our customers to be ready to convert quickly and easily."


Weed Sensing Technology

John Deere’s See & Spray AI-powered weed-sensing system that automatically activates individual spray nozzles when target weeds are "seen" by boom-mounted cameras.

Originally launched at CES 2023, John Deere is expanding the availability of the system to more sprayer models, offering more farmers access to what it calls “one of the most powerful tools available for maximizing cost-efficiency and in-field productivity.”

The system also collects data on the areas sprayed and how much pesticide has been used, to give farmers greater insight into crop health.

Farmers can also opt for See & Spray Premium, where they can pay for and deploy the tech only when it’s needed, offering a customizable package.


Automated Combines

John Deere also introduced a new series of automated combines, designed to improve efficiency, harvest quality and operator ease of use.  

Automation technologies integrated into the new combine series include ground speed automation and harvest setting automation, which automatically adjusts the combine’s ground speed or harvesting speeds, respectively, based on operator inputs such as crop type, geolocation, engine power and rotor pressure.

It features predictive ground speed automation, which controls the combine's ground speed based on crop height and biomass measurements.

"These automation packages will help relieve pressure on newer operators while providing new conveniences and efficiencies for those with more experience," said Bergen Nelson, John Deere’s harvester manager. "They'll contribute to a faster, higher-quality harvest; allow farmers to put their more experienced labor into higher-value roles; and help reduce overall labor costs and equipment depreciation through faster harvest,

"Taken together, these updates make the S7 Series combine some of the most efficient, capable and operator-friendly machines we've ever produced and will be game-changers for custom harvesters and farmers of all scales."


About the Author(s)

Scarlett Evans

Assistant Editor, IoT World Today

Scarlett Evans is the assistant editor for IoT World Today, with a particular focus on robotics and smart city technologies. Scarlett has previous experience in minerals and resources with Mine Australia, Mine Technology and Power Technology. She joined Informa in April 2022.

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