John Deere’s brand-new 8R tractor uses six stereo camera pairs and cutting-edge artificial intelligence to comprehend its surroundings and navigate. It can find a field on its own when given a path and coordinates. Once there, it can go around barriers and plow the ground or scatter seeds without further instructions. A farmer can give the machine new instructions via a smartphone app.
Some tractors can already operate independently, but only under certain conditions. For instance, they are unable to avoid obstructions and can only follow GPS-defined routes. Others are somewhat autonomous but still require a farmer to turn the steering wheel. By autoᴍᴀᴛɪɴɢ jobs that are currently ᴛʜʀᴇᴀᴛened by a continuous labour shortage in agriculture, farmers may be able to save money. However, the introduction of AI and greater automation in agriculture can also bring up questions around the displacement of workers as well as who would own and utilize the created data.
Deere withheld the cost of the new tractor, but its most expensive models at the moment can reach $800,000. Hindᴍᴀɴ claims that the company is investigating a number of business models, including a subscription service. With the help of recent breakthroughs in robotics and self-driving cars, tractors and other farm equipment have gradually started to become autonomous.
Similar AI tactics are being used by businesses who are developing self-driving cars. For instance, Tesla tunes its Autopilot self-driving system using data gathered from its vehicles. Even if a vacant field poses less challenges than a busy metropolitan intersection, Hindᴍᴀɴ admits that the system would struggle to see its surroundings in inclement weather like snow or rain, much like self-driving cars do.
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Video resource: Laura Farms