Tag Archives: John Deere

John Deere Invests In Self-Driving Tractors And Smart Crop Sprayers



John Deere is rolling out self-driving tractors that can plow fields by themselves, and sprayers that distinguish weeds from crops. Deere, which helped make satellite-guided tractors ubiquitous in the U.S. Farm Belt over the past 20 years, is investing billions of dollars to develop smarter machines that the company said will make farming faster and more efficient than it ever could be with just farmers behind the wheel, The Wall Street Journal reported.

According to the Wall Street Journal, by the end of the decade, John May, Deere’s chief executive projects that 10% of Deere’s annual revenue will come from fees for using software.

The Wall Street Journal also reported that while farmers have said they are open to test-driving new technology, many are struggling with the cost of necessities including fertilizer and fuel, which have surged in price over the past year.

John Deere generated $44 billion in sales in 2021, and sells around 60% of the high-horsepower tractors used in the U.S. and Canada. Deere has been guiding farmers toward a bigger leap into technology for almost 20 years, starting with an autopilot system on tractors and harvesters that is now a standard feature on nearly all of Deere’s large farm machinery.

That said, not all farmers appear to be enthused about John Deere’s technological choices.

Walter Schweitzer, a farmer new Geyser, Montana, who also serves as president of the Montana Farmers Union, said he worried that further linking farm equipment to software managed by Deere could give the equipment company greater influence over farmers’ operations, while collecting data to benefit Deere’s own technology development.

According to The Wall Street Journal, The Montana Farmers Union has joined other farm groups in pushing Deere to broaden access to the software and tools to repair and work on Deere equipment, so independent repair shops and farmers themselves could do more fixes.

In August of 2022, Gizmodo reported that a hacker named Sick Codes had demonstrated a way to jail-break John Deere tractors, which could allow farmers the opportunity to self-repair their equipment. According to Gizmodo, as farming and agriculture continue to automate, John Deere has found a sneaky digitally gate keep diagnosis of faulty tractor parts to ensure that farmers are forced to turn to the company’s own repair services.

In July of 2021, the U.S Federal Trade Commission unanimously voted to ramp up law enforcement against repair restrictions that prevent small businesses, workers, consumers, and even government entities from fixing their own products. This, essentially, puts the “right to repair” in place.

To me, it sounds like the farmers who are using John Deere’s equipment have the “right to repair” it themselves, without relying on John Deere to do that for them. Personally, I don’t think people who need to use specific equipment to do their jobs should have to be burdened with wondering what a big company will do with the data it collects from them.


Hacker Provided Jailbreak For John Deere Tractors



A hacker named Sick Codes has demonstrated a way to jailbreak John Deere tractors, which could allow farmers the opportunity to self-repair their equipment, Gizmodo reported. According to Gizmodo, as farming and agriculture continue to automate, John Deere has found a sneaky digitally gate keep diagnosis of faulty tractor parts to ensure that farmers are forced to turn to the company’s own repair services.

In July of 2021, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission unanimously voted to ramp up law enforcement against repair restrictions that prevent small businesses, workers, consumers, and even government entities from fixing their own products. This decision essentially puts the “right-to-repair” in place.

The FTC’s statements came days after the White House endorsed similar rules in an executive order on economic competition. That part of the executive order specifically states that the FTC will exercise rule making authority regarding several areas, including “unfair anti competition and surveillance practices on third-party repair or self-repair of items, as imposed by powerful manufacturers that prevent farmers from repairing their own equipment.”

Wired reported that SickCodes is an Australian who lives in Asia who presented at DefCon in 2021 about tractor application programming interfaces and operating system bugs. After he made his research public, tractor companies, including John Deere, started fixing some of the flaws.

In short, when John Deere did that, it caused problems for the farmers who now had even less control over their farm equipment than they had before. It harmed their ability to engage in right-to-repair.

According to Wired, this year, Sick Codes says that while he is primarily concerned about world food security and exposure that comes from vulnerable farming equipment, he also sees the important value in letting farmers control their own equipment.

The 2021 executive order directed the Federal Trade Commission to increase enforcement efforts over practices like voiding warranties for outside repair, Wired reported. That, combined with New York State passing its own right-to-repair law and creative activist pressure has generated unprecedented momentum for the movement.

In March of 2022, John Deere posted a news release titled: “John Deere Expands Access to Self-Repair Resources”. In it, John Deere announced that it will enhance the capabilities of existing diagnostic tools and expand their availability. In 2023, the company will roll out an enhanced customer solution that include a mobile device interface, and the ability to download secure software updates directly to embedded controllers on select John Deere equipment with 4G connections.

In addition, John Deere wrote, that in May it would expand its offerings by giving customers and independent repair shops in the U.S. the ability to purchase Customer Service ADVISOR directly through the JohnDeereStore.com.

Wired reported that this change would, essentially, put the farmers in control of downloads on their equipment themselves, rather than have John Deere unilaterally apply the patches remotely or force farmers to bring products to authorized dealerships.

The FTC has the right to go after companies that are standing in the way of consumers being able to exercise their right-to-repair products that they own and paid for. Perhaps this is a reason why John Deere made some changes.


John Deere Reveals Fully Autonomous Tractor at CES 2022



During a press conference at CES 2022, John Deere revealed a fully autonomous tractor that’s ready for large-scale production. The machine combines Deere’s 8R Tractor, TruSet – enabled chisel plow, GPS guidance system, and new advanced technologies. The autonomous tractor will be available to farmers later this year.

The autonomous tractor serves a specific purpose: feeding the world. The global population is expected to grow from about 8 billion to nearly 10 billion by 2050, increasing the global food demand by 50%. Furthermore, farmers must feed this growing population with less available land and skilled labor, and work through the variables inherent in farming like changing weather conditions and climate, variations in soil quality, and the presence of weeds and pests. All of these factor impact a farmer’s ability to farm during the most critical times of the year.

The autonomous tractor has six pairs of stereo cameras, which enables 360-degree obstacle detection and the calculation of distance. Images captured by the cameras are passed through a deep neural network that classifies each pixel in approximately 100 milliseconds and determines if the machine continues to move or stops, depending on if an obstacle is detected. The autonomous tractor is also continuously checking its position relative to a geofence, ensuring it is operating where it is supposed to, and is accurate to within less than 1 inch.

To use the autonomous tractor, farmers only need to transport the machine to a field and configure it for autonomous operation. Using John Deere Operations Center Mobile, they can swipe from left to right to start the machine. While the machine is working, the farmer can leave the field to focus on other tasks while monitoring the machine’s status from their mobile device.

John Deer Operations Center Mobile provides access to live images, data, and metrics, and allows a farmer to adjust speed, depth, and more. In the event of any job-quality anomalies or machine-health issues, farmers will be notified remotely and can make adjustments to optimize the performance of the machine.

The fully autonomous tractor will be on display at John Deere’s CES booth, located in Central Plaza at the Las Vegas Convention Center (CP-14). The booth will also showcase cutting-edge technologies that are being used by farmers today, such as AI, GPS, automation, and more.


CES Honors John Deere for X Series Combines in Robotic Category



John Deere has been honored in the Robotics category of the 2021 CES Innovation Awards, which recognize outstanding product design and engineering in consumer technology products. This is the second straight year John Deere has received a CES Innovation Award.

John Deere is a CES Innovation Award Honoree for its new X Series combines that are equipped with ActiveVision camera technology that helps farmers see inside the combine’s grain tank and observe tailings so they can monitor the condition of harvested grain, right down to the individual kernels. This technology is fueled by proprietary algorithms and provides farmers with information to make critical decisions in the moment, and to gather data over time to inform future actions.

“John Deere is honored to receive this award as it highlights our ongoing commitment to agriculture, innovation, and technology,” said Jahmy Hindman, chief technology officer for John Deere. “The award recognizes our efforts to build cutting-edge smart machines, systems, and solutions that unlock customer economic value through enhanced precision, automation, speed and efficiency previously not possible”.

The X9 1100 is the largest John Deere X Series combine and helps farmers harvest faster without risking grain loss or quality. These machines can thresh, separate, and clean more bushels per hour – or harvest more acres per day – even under unpredictable conditions. Compared with previous models, the X9 1100 can harvest up to 70% more wheat per hour.

The artificial intelligence, computer vision, in-field machine-to-machine communication, integrated sensors and self-driving capabilities included on the X Series help make this increased harvesting productivity possible. For example, the combine can automatically adjust itself to adapt to changing conditions to run at peak levels while helping farmers with in-the-moment decision making. The combines also monitor themselves and enable farmers and John Deere service technicians to manage concerns remotely, thereby minimizing downtime and supporting profitability.