GPS guides farm tractors in France

Following two years of development, French researchers recently created a prototype automatic guidance system for agricultural tractors using a kinematic global positioning system (GPS). Renault Agriculture partnered with Cemagraf (Research Institute for Agricultural and Environmental Engineering) and LASMEA (Science and Materials Laboratory for Electronic...

07/01/2000


Following two years of development, French researchers recently created a prototype automatic guidance system for agricultural tractors using a kinematic global positioning system (GPS). Renault Agriculture partnered with Cemagraf (Research Institute for Agricultural and Environmental Engineering) and LASMEA (Science and Materials Laboratory for Electronics and Automation at the University of Clement-Ferrand) to produce the guidance system product, which is scheduled to be launched in 2003.

Though risk-analysis requires drivers to remain in the cab, they can now concentrate on equipment and process monitoring. The developers report that GPS-aided automatic guidance was possible for agriculture because tractor speeds are generally slow, obstacles are stationary and easily memorized, and stopping distances are long enough when problems arise. They also credit the new kinematic GPS system—accurate to a few centimeters in three dimensions—for helping drivers guide their vehicles over an entire field.

For more information, visit www.cti.renault-agri.fr or www.controleng.com/freeinfo .





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