Using GPS to Help Build the World

SmartGrade™ technology addresses rework inefficiencies and supports sustainable practices


Our earthmoving customers work in an industry where labor shortages and tighter deadlines are an increasing reality. So, the idea of having to redo your work nearly one-third of the time—common to the industry—is far from appealing and certainly far from efficient when it comes to maximizing resources and deadlines.

John Deere is addressing those constraints with SmartGrade™ technology, which allows machines to dig and grade within 1.2 inches. That’s less than the height of a golf ball. It’s this kind of precision that has made today’s work at job sites more efficient, profitable, and sustainable.

First initiated in 2016, SmartGrade was developed due to competitive market pressures and evolving customer and dealer interest in integrating grade control technology, Sean Mairet, senior product manager for grade management, said. He added that most product lines with SmartGrade took between three and four years to develop.

“The biggest lesson learned,” Mairet said, “is that you need to be all in on technology from initial development through final test with dedicated people who are passionate about understanding these complicated systems. The value that this technology brings to a customer’s business is nearly unparalleled and its truly revolutionized construction job sites.”

This is why John Deere is focused on increasing grade management adoption to 50 percent by 2026 as part of its Leap Ambitions.

Check out the behind-the-scenes video to see the SmartGrade team test equipment at extreme angles and in forty below zero temperatures.