John Deere’s Acquisition of Bear Flag Puts Autonomy in Driver’s Seat

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When considering the future of farming, it is important to understand the problems facing the agriculture industry. One of the most pressing issues is something that also haunts manufacturing – the availability of skilled labor. Unfortunately, when very narrow windows of opportunity exist to complete tasks, the challenge quickly become exponential, explains Dan Leibfried, director of automation and autonomy at Deere. “In order to get the best outcome, it’s not just a matter of taking more time to complete one job after the other. Whether it’s preparing the soil, planting the seed, protecting or harvesting a crop, farmers have numerous activities occurring in parallel, and unfortunately labor is not always available,” Leibfried tells IndustryWeek. “If skilled labor is not available, it can have a significant impact on the overall outcome of a crop. We believe we can alleviate that problem by making equipment robotic and autonomous, and decoupling it labor availability.”

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