A review of the state of the art in agricultural automation. Part III: Agricultural machinery navigation systemsConference Paper
2018 American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers. All rights reserved. Developments in agricultural machinery navigation include tractor guidance and steering control systems, machine operation and path planning systems. Tractor guidance and steering control technologies have been in commercial use for two decades. These systems enable tractors to be positioned precisely in the field or relatively to the crop with minimal driver interaction. This reduces driver fatigue, frees the driver to better monitor implement and machine operations, and with suitable position accuracy, which differs based on the underlying positioning technology (e.g., real time kinematic (RTK) GNSS, crop sensors), more advanced agronomic techniques such as inter-row seeding are therefore feasible. One of the primary benefits of guidance technology is the reduction in overlap during seeding, spraying, fertilizing and harvesting, which optimizes both input costs and machine efficiency. All major tractor manufacturers offer some form of guidance and automated steering control, and systems are also available from companies that specialize in tractor guidance systems. Developments in machine operation and path planning include systems that better coordinate implement and tractor operations. In some cases, fully automating procedures such as end turns where a seeding implement is raised, the vehicle performs a 180 degree turn and aligns correctly for the next pass. Implement guidance products are also available that control the steering and position of the tractor to achieve accurate positioning of the implement, rather than the tractor itself. The availability and distinguishing factors of these varying navigation technologies are presented and discussed per manufacturer, as well as their significant recent developments.