Heavy equipment maker John Deere demonstrated a fully autonomous tractor at CES 2022, touting the tech as a way to increase global food production in the face of labour shortages.

Farmers will be able to control the 8R tractor with a smartphone app, the company stated adding the machine will be capable of operating without human intervention. Farm workers can increase productivity by focusing on other tasks while the tractor readies the soil for planting, John Deere predicted.

The company explained the set-up employs GPS for navigation and AI to autonomously prepare fields for planting based on soil conditions. John Deere claims the equipment’s neural network can classify each pixel recorded by cameras in 100 milliseconds.

John Deere’s mobile app will give farmers access to live video from the tractor’s cameras and data collected by its sensors. Remote adjustment of metrics including speed and depth of soil tilling are also on offer.

Sensors will also detect objects which could obstruct the tractor’s path, preventing accidents or collisions, the company explained.

The machine will be commercially available later this year.

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