In Deere & Co.'s keynote address at CES 2023 yesterday, the company revealed two new technologies that it claimed will help its customers be more productive, profitable, and sustainable. ExactShot is designed to help farmers more economically and sustainably apply fertilizer, and Deere's new electric excavator is powered by a Kreisel battery.
“Everything we do at John Deere is focused on real purpose and real impact,” stated Jahmy Hindman, chief technology officer at John Deere. “This means we're developing technology that enables our customers to provide the food, fuel, fiber, and infrastructure that our growing global population needs.”
“Our autonomy project was farmer-driven,” said Joseph Liefer, senior product manager for autonomy at the company. “They asked us to start with the act of preparing the soil, not harvesting.”
“As we learn how to decouple labor from the cab, it's a force multiplier for farmers in the driver's seat,” he told Robotics 24/7. “That's where autonomy starts to come in.”
ExactShot could save resources
With the global population expected to grow from 8 billion today to nearly 10 billion by 2050, farmers will need to increase production by 60% to 70% on today's arable land, noted Deere.
ExactShot allows farmers to reduce the amount of starter fertilizer needed during planting by more than 60%, said the company. The technology uses sensors and robotics to place starter fertilizer precisely onto individual seeds as they are planted in the soil, rather than applying a continuous flow of fertilizer to the entire row of seeds.
ExactShot uses a sensor to register when each seed is in the process of going into the soil, Deere said. As this occurs, a robot will spray only the amount of fertilizer needed, about 0.2 ML, directly onto the seed at the exact moment as it goes into the ground.
Across the U.S. corn crop, ExactShot could save over 93 million gallons of starter fertilizer annually and prevent wasted fertilizer from encouraging weed growth or increasing the risk of running off the field into a waterway, said Deere.
“For instance, with our See & Spray product and autonomy ... we can save an incredible amount of chemicals, which is one of the biggest expenses for farmers,” said Liefer. “For planting, it's critical to be able to run 24/7. If farmers can check on their equipment and prepare seed and fertilizer without having to do everything in a small planting window of 16 to 18 hours themselves, they'll find other jobs to do next.”
Electric excavator uses Kreisel battery
The electric excavator, powered by a Kreisel battery, will provide construction workers and road builders with lower daily operating costs, reduced jobsite noise, enhanced machine reliability, and zero emissions, said Deere. It will do these things without sacrificing the power and performance they need in a machine, it noted.
In February 2022, Deere acquired a majority stake in Kreisel Electric, which created state-of-the-art battery technology for a wide range of mobile and stationary applications. Kreisel said its patented immersion cooling architecture provides long equipment lifespan, enhanced safety, and improved performance for battery-powered equipment.
The company added that Kreisel's charging technology can result in faster and lower-cost connections to the electrical grid.
John Deere shows more field robotics at CES
John Deere is displaying ExactShot and its electric excavator at Booth 5617 from Jan. 5 to 8, 2023, in the West Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center. The booth also features Deere's See & Spray and autonomous technology.
At last year's CES, Deere unveiled its fully autonomous tractor, which it said was ready for large-scale production.
“Since then, we've gotten a ton of calls from farmers and dealers, who are incredibly excited,” said Liefer. “More test customers are ready to sign up, and we've gotten requests for tractor and tillage—'What about this job and that job?'”
Deere & Co.'s agricultural, construction, and forestry equipment includes the John Deere Autonomous 8R Tractor, See & Spray, and E-Power Backhoe. The company also provides financial services through John Deere Financial.
The autonomous tractor won a CES 2023 Innovation Award as an honoree in the robotics category. Deere is contining to develop technologies that will operate in more conditions around the world, relieve farmers from strain, and automate more tasks, said Liefer.
“We're focusing on automating tasks that allow farmers to manage major jobs and their time and labor,” he said.
Editor's note: For more from CES 2023, check out Robotics 24/7's special coverage page.