Only one of two in existence, Deere's walking harvester on display at the John Deere Pavilion in Moline was designed by Deere's research and development unit in Finland in the 1990s, but it "was ahead of its time" and never reached the production phase.
Manufactured in 1994, this walking harvester machine was the first to be equipped with a harvesting head and accumulated approximately 2000 working hours during testing.
Sensors in the machine's legs were designed to react automatically to soft, sloping, or uneven terrain, while a computer control system would distribute weight and support equally to all six legs. The machine would simply walk over obstacles that crossed its path, and the machine operator would be able to adjust the ground clearance and height of every step.
The walking harvester prototypes helped pave the way for future developments in productive and environmentally friendly machines. For example, the automation and stability system technology used in developing the concept underwent further development and is now applied in all of Deere's forest equipment. Due to progressive development work on the control systems, hydraulics, and transmission, more recent Deere harvesters wreck less havoc on the terrain.
The display at the Pavilion was opened earlier this year to celebrate John Deere's 175th anniversary and also the Pavilion's own 15th anniversary.