• Prachi Patil

How John Deere is leveraging AI, IoT and data analytics?

John Deere is a global leader in agricultural machinery manufacturing and for many of us, this name recalls bright green and yellow tractors. Over the past two decades, Deere has made significant investments in building its internal capabilities around data science and analytics. The company’s acquisition of Blue River Technology in 2017 is now empowering its entrance into AI and computer vision to see and measure data on individual crops with the goal of autonomous decision-making. This has helped them transform from a pure equipment manufacturer into a data-driven technological manufacturing company. Their vision is to improve customer productivity and help to deliver more value to farmers, helping them to collect data and harness it for improved farm management.


The John Deere Operations Center delivers value to farmers with tools and features that enable them to easily access farm information to better manage their daily operations. Through dashboards farmers can see what is happening real time, analyze performance, and collaborate with partners to gain insights, increase profits, and direct their plans with more precision in the field.

All types of data e.g. fuel level, location, machine hours, is collected primarily from sensors embedded both in the machines and in the field (soil), and also pulled from external sources e.g., weather prediction data, commodity pricing. Data is then automatically uploaded onto the cloud via the cellular network, Wi-fi, or Bluetooth. Farmers can access and manage the data through the MyJohnDeere.com portal. Through an app, farmers can monitor activity in real-time, analyze performance, determine how best to utilize equipment, and collaborate with partners for insights that help the farmer decide what to plant, where and when with the optimized condition. The value created for farmers is improved productivity, increased efficiency, improved operations, decreased downtime, and reduced costs to ultimately maximize profitability.

(Dashboards on tractors displaying information. Source: Deere.com)


Blue River Technology has developed a solution using advanced machine learning algorithms to enable robots to make decisions, based on visual data about whether or not a plant is a pest, and then deliver an accurate, measured blast of chemical pesticides to tackle the unwanted pests.


The aggregate machine data is also used for predictive maintenance by Deere to find patterns that indicate a machine or sensor problems and notify failures in advance. Remote diagnostics save time and money from technician visits and reduced downtime. Deere also used the data internally to improve product quality, enhancements, as well as to advise the next generation of new product and service development.


Check out the video how the future of farming looks like:


References:

1. https://www.bernardmarr.com/default.asp?contentID=1387

2. https://digital.hbs.edu/platform-digit/submission/farm-to-data-table-john-deere-and-data-in-precision-agriculture/

3. https://www.forbes.com/sites/bernardmarr/2019/03/15/the-amazing-ways-john-deere-uses-ai-and-machine-vision-to-help-feed-10-billion-people/#1591bd612ae9