Parallel to the automotive and telephony spheres, agricultural machinery has also undergone radical digitization, with inevitable new problems: the owner of a broken agricultural vehicle increasingly needs to contact the official network to diagnose and repair the damage, unlike a few years ago, where the “generic mechanic” solved the problem often already in the field, making life “easier” for the farmer who is in dire need of his own means.
Even the Australian hacker Sick Codes has raised this problem, tackling it in a radical way, effectively violating the system software of major brands, such as John Deere, to make even the latest generation machines more “analogical”: “farmers prefer older equipment, because they are easier to repair: they don’t want something to break at the most important moments of the season, and that’s what everyone should want; from the bolt to the system software, everything should be able to be repaired independently ”, this admitted Sick Codes at the DefCon of 2021, appealing to the“ right to repair the equipment purchased ”.
After having made public its research focused on the vulnerability of these systems, John Deere, among the largest producers, has corrected some of its bug and at the same time has undertaken a streamlining of its repair procedures, also releasing diagnostic software to generic mechanics able to interface with vehicles without necessarily going to authorized dealers; in addition, the US government has committed to limiting the cases of voiding the warranty for external repairs with a specific law.
Common sense solutions born from a technological Robin Hood who in one fell swoop opened the eyes of manufacturers to their system bugs, satisfied end users and demonstrated that technology leads to great benefits in all areas, even in that agricultural.
Interview source: Wired US
Edited by Fabio Coppola