A look at the future of the tractor cab with John Deere's Command Cab

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During planting, spraying and harvest season, a farmer will spend incredible amounts of hours in the machinery cab. The days of the basic cab are over as cabs have become suites, and operator creature comforts have become mandatory. In the John Deere farming future zone at Agritechnica, patrons got a closer look at what the cab of the future  might look like with the Command Cab.

The features:

  • A clear change of role for the operator as the driver is now the cab manager and manger of what’s happening around them.
  • No steering wheel, as the driver steers the machine with a joystick
  • Two cab-wide touch screens that include monitoring and slide adjustments
  • Artificial intelligence that suggests changes to settings on the go
  • Team management interface to allow for performance monitoring and even video calling

Even though the Command Cab was in the future farming zone, much of the technology is already in the cab of today, but it is a clear reconfiguration of the user interface.

The hold up:

  • Clearly, with this kind of cab of the future, 5G broadband is critical for it to even be possible. Without 5G this cab will remain in the future and not reality.
  • The reaction to removing the steering wheel could come with some pushback from some farmers that don’t like the touch of the joystick. Based on how the screens are placed in your lap, there would be no option for a steering wheel in this version.
  • There was no mention of price based on it being a concept but making this kind of version affordable will be key for John Deere or any manufacturer.

Depending on your level of comfort with touch screen interfaces, farmers are going to either love or hate the concept. For me I really loved it, but that may speak more to my love of technology than from any operations perspective. For any person under the age of thirty, this will feel like a cab should be. I felt like the joystick was very easy to use and will be a way easier transition than people likely think.

In the video below, Shaun Haney talks with Josh Hoffman from John Deere about the cab.  Josh even let Shaun drive:

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