Inexpensive steering guidance for most tractor models
Universal installation for semi-autonomous vehicle guidance with applications in crop fertilization and cultivation.
As the average agricultural field size continues to grow, many crop producers have installed global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) as semi-autonomous vehicle guidance mechanisms. Not only does this decrease operator fatigue of industrial machinery, but also limits damage to row crop seedlings. Unfortunately, current guidance systems are expensive and incompatible with some makes and models of tractors. This limits the use of commercially available instrumentation in developing countries and decreases the net value of agricultural products.
This technology is a universal assisted steering adapter for all tractor models with power steering. The semi-autonomous vehicle guidance is controlled by a camera mounted on the vehicle in-line with a crop row to obtain a video stream of the plants passing beneath the equipment. The application is capable of identifying the lateral offset of the plant rows even in various ambient lighting conditions. Unlike other assisted guidance mechanisms, this device is easily installed and is an inexpensive precision agriculture solution. Add-on control options include a GNSS receiver and a potential Android/iPhone application. With a low price and basic universal installation, this could be an important device to high-acreage farming.
- Can be installed on any tractor with assisted power steering
- Low price and simple, universal installation on tractors opens the market to developing countries
- Semi-autonomous vehicle guidance lowers operator fatigue