Manual GPS guidance system for agricultural vehicles
In this paper, the performance of a manual GPS guidance system to assist farming operations is evaluated. The distribution of granular fertilizer was simulated in order to discretize areas with excessive application of fertilizers and areas with fertilizer application rates below the intended rate. The path of travel followed by a tractor with the manual GPS guidance system was analysed and compared with a commercial parallel tracking system and without guidance assistance. In addition, the analysis evaluated how the use of manual GPS guidance systems improves the performance of field operations that require large distances between passes. Under the experimental conditions used, the best results were obtained using a commercial parallel tracking system but, for our purposes, small differences were observed between the results obtained with the commercial system and the results obtained with the developed manual GPS guidance system, getting pass-to-pass average error values of 0.26 and 0.73 m, respectively. The results obtained with both systems were significantly better than the results obtained when no guidance assistance was used. In our trials, area with appropriate fertilizer rate was clearly increased when guidance assistance was used. Values of area with correct fertilizer rate applied ranged between 87% with commercial parallel tracking and 59% without guidance assistance. The use of the manual GPS guidance system presented in this paper has proved sufficient to obtain good results for mechanical fertilizer spreading.
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