The annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas is known for showcasing some of the hottest high-tech tools from innovative companies across the globe.
Several of the products that took home top honours in the 2020 Innovation Awards categories were conceptual or not available on the mass market and most were small enough to tuck into a suitcase — and then there was the 8RX.
John Deere made headlines when one of its newest tractors was among the honorees at the renowned tech expo. CES confirmed that it was the first time a tractor won an innovation award.
Although CES awards outstanding product design and engineering in 28 categories, including embedded technologies and vehicle intelligence and transportation, Cyndee Smiley, North American public relations manager for John Deere, felt Tech for a Better World was the best fit for the new 8RX.
“[We] knew this was our category,” Smiley says.
On the nomination forms, Tech for a Better World is described as a category for products that, “share a common goal or ability to impact the world in a positive way, whether domestically, or on a faraway corner of the globe…[and] share the theme of positive societal and/or global impact.”
The description, Smiley says, mirrors what John Deere is working to accomplish with all of its machines, including the 8RX.
“There is an intersection between agriculture technology and what our farmers do every day,” she says. “They are out there working the land to provide food for the world and they are embracing technology because of the demand to grow more and more food. So, our farmers are using technology to help the world.”
A panel of judges reviewed the nominations, scoring them based on their innovations in design, engineering, functionality, consumer appeal and their potential positive impact on the world.
The 2020 8RX comes standard with an integrated Gen 4 4600 CommandCenter display, StarFire 6000 integrated receiver and AutoTrac activation. Like other John Deere models, the 8RX is also equipped with a suite of John Deere technology to ensure integration and connectivity between machines.
Smiley believes that features such as advanced automation tools and artificial intelligence and Internet of Things technologies that make it possible for less skilled workers to operate the tractor and increase yields to feed an ever-expanding population helped impress the judges. The fixed-frame, four track design—an industry first—also puts less pressure on the ground, making it a more sustainable machine.
In a press release about the CES Innovation Award, John Stone, senior vice president of Deere’s Intelligent Solutions Group, said, “Our focus remains on providing innovative solutions to help customers meet the many challenges of farming. We are humbled by this award from a leading technology organization as it highlights our equal commitment to agriculture, innovation, and technology.”
The 8RX might have been the first tractor to take home a Tech for a Better World award but John Deere was not the only agriculture company the judges recognized the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show. The AgriTalk Farming Sensor, which allows farmers to access real-time environmental data about soil fertility, pests and diseases, was also a Tech for a Better World honoree.
At future CES events, Smiley hopes that agriculture innovations will continue to be recognized for their ability to change the world.