Evaluation of the use of low-cost GPS receivers in the autonomous guidance of agricultural tractors

  • S. Alonso-Garcia
  • J. Gomez-Gil
  • J. I. Arribas
Keywords: control law, fuzzy logic, inertial navigation system (INS), linear quadratic regulator, step response, trajectory tracking


This paper evaluates the use of low-cost global positioning system (GPS) receivers in the autonomous guidance of
agricultural tractors. An autonomous guidance system was installed in a 6400 John Deere agricultural tractor. A lowcost
GPS receiver was used as positioning sensor. Three different control laws were implemented in order to evaluate the autonomous guidance of the tractor with the low-cost receiver. The guidance was experimentally tested with the tracking of straight trajectories and with the step response. The total guidance error was obtained from the receiver accuracy and from the guidance error. For the evaluation of the receiver’s accuracy, positioning data from several lowcost receivers were recorded and analyzed. For the evaluation of the guidance error, tests were performed with each control law at three different speeds. The conclusions obtained were that relative accuracy of low-cost receivers decreases with the time; that for an interval lower than 15 min, the error usually remains below 1 m; that all the control laws have a similar behavior and it is conditioned by the control law adjustment; that automatic guidance with lowcost receivers is possible with speeds that went up to 9 km h–1; and finally, that the total error in the guidance is mainly determined by the receiver’s accuracy.


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Author Biographies

S. Alonso-Garcia
ETSI Telecomunicaciones. Universidad de Valladolid. Campus Miguel Delibes.
Camino del Cementerio, s/n. 47011 Valladolid. Spain
J. Gomez-Gil
ETSI Telecomunicaciones. Universidad de Valladolid. Campus Miguel Delibes.
Camino del Cementerio, s/n. 47011 Valladolid. Spain
J. I. Arribas
ETSI Telecomunicaciones. Universidad de Valladolid. Campus Miguel Delibes.
Camino del Cementerio, s/n. 47011 Valladolid. Spain


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How to Cite
Alonso-GarciaS., Gomez-GilJ., & ArribasJ. I. (2011). Evaluation of the use of low-cost GPS receivers in the autonomous guidance of agricultural tractors. Spanish Journal of Agricultural Research, 9(2), 377-388. https://doi.org/10.5424/sjar/20110902-088-10
Agricultural engineering