John Deere has been keeping up to date on the latest tech trends, believe it or not this isn’t their first CES as we also covered them last year which you can see here. They not only want to make farming better but want to solve world problems when it comes to hunger and believe precision planting is one of the ways to do that. A single John Deere tractor and planter have the ability to precisely plant over 700 corn seeds and 2,800 soybean seeds every second.
It’s one thing to to talk about it but it’s another to experience it. To break this down in detail we believe they would have wanted us to check out a farm in person and considering the state of things that isn’t the best option but to ensure we got a proper understanding we were able to experience this in VR. With an Oculus Quest 2 we were able to go to a replica VR tour of one of their farms and found out exactly how their tractors work in action. I had the pleasure of getting a walkthrough demo from Julian Sanchez the Director of Emerging Technologies in the Intelligent Solutions Group and Nancy Post Director for embedded software and solutions for the Intelligent Solutions Group at John Deere.
The demo consisted of a few parts from the various functions of the tractor and planter to the data that is sent between them and the data center. The highly automated 8RX Tractor and a 60-foot, 24-row planter are powered by over 300 sensors and 140 controllers — processing 15,000 measurements per second per machine. On a typical day of spring planting, John Deere processes five to 15 million sensor measurements every second (at eight bytes per measurement, this is upwards of 100 megabytes per second into the Deere data platform). One of the bigger things to showcase is their self-steer mechanic which allows for accurate planting freeing a farmer of the fatigues of being in the vehicle hours on end. From a underground view looking above of a rolling John Deere tractor it looked to be moving at 10mph while planting which is relatively fast for the amount it’s planting.
The birds eye view was possibly my favorite showcasing not only multiple tractors in self-steer motion but also how it handles any maintenance it needs overtime. It also was able to determine the time in which you needed to get things back up and running with enough time to make growth deadlines. With such high level machinery we were curious on how smaller farms/farmers take part in upgrading in any capacity and they let us know that it can start as simple as an app, modular components for their own tractors and if they eventually wanted to get vehicles they could but no obligations and the entry point on understanding the technology is minimal.
We’ve come out of CES 2021 with a better understanding of the many way John Deere wants to take their business and it’s not only driven to tech. Sure they want to start adding things like 5G wireless in the tractors and such but its deeper as it’s also about making the farmers job much easier so they have the confidence in meeting and surpassing all goals they have. We had a blast checking things out and look forward to the future of John Deere and what they’ll bring next year.