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ABC RURAL | Driverless tractor set for commercial production at John Deere

With its smooth edges, sleek design and the notable absence of a driver in the cabin, it looks like something out of a futuristic movie in which the machines take over.

But the new driverless tractor is now set for commercial production and could soon be coming to a paddock near you.

It is 185 years since John Deere released the first commercially successful steel plough, heralding a significant step in the mechanisation of agriculture.

Now, the company has released a fully autonomous tractor, a machine it hopes will take agriculture down a transformative path of innovation.

Grain Producers Australia Chief Executive Colin Bettles said the organisation had long recognised the commercial opportunity and demand for autonomous machinery, and it aimed to prepare the industry ahead of the technology.

"In 2019, we've started a project working with the Tractor and Machinery Association of Australia and the Society of Precision Agriculture Australia, basically collaborating across the industry and stakeholders to deliver a code of practice for autonomous mobile field machinery," he said.

"We recognised there were some social licence issues that would need to be dealt with, some practical issues on-farm in terms of the operation of the machinery."

Grain Producers Australia has presented its code of practice to the Western Australian government and hopes it will be adopted by all states, facilitating a pathway to market.

"The announcement this week by John Deere in the US about them coming to market with a machine over there really signals that we're on the right track in terms of being proactive," Mr Bettles said.


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