Innovative GPS guidance system gets farmers onTrak

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OnTrak, a new tractor GPS system set to bring affordable guidance to a much broader range of farming businesses will receive its official launch at LAMMA 2017 (stand 734a).

This smart farming tool has been developed by British specialist supplier Agricision, which has already won a business award for the onTrak concept.

OnTrak, which uses a patent pending combined receiver and lightbar operated via an iPad or iPhone, offers a cost effective guidance solution. It is quick and simple to set up, easy to operate and swap between tractors or other vehicles.

The onTrak receiver is a robust waterproof unit which simply adheres magnetically to the bonnet of the tractor, placing the lightbar clearly in the eyeline of the driver. There is no need to glance backwards and forwards to a monitor or look down at the dashboard, so operator accuracy is boosted and fatigue significantly cut, leading to improved performance.

Leading optometrist Neil Frost comments, “Positioning the device on the bonnet of the tractor rather than within the cab greatly reduces the accommodative effort of the user’s eyes and leads to a better experience and reduced fatigue.”

Positioning the GPS receiver on the bonnet also improves responsiveness, since it is in line with the tractor’s front wheels rather than behind them as is the case with in-cab systems.

It is set up and controlled via a free App downloaded to the iPad or iPhone which connects wirelessly using Bluetooth.

To begin guidance in the field, the operator inputs the implement width and sets the A-B line which creates the guidance lines for the task in hand. When driving on the line, a single green light shows in the centre of the lightbar with flashing or continuous red lights activated if the tractor is driven off course.

Guidance records can be stored against a field name for future use before moving onto the next field, and guidance can be paused to refill a sprayer or spreader for example, resuming when returning to the stop point.

GPS correction signals are obtained from any freely available satellite source and accuracy meets the industry standard of 20cm pass-to-pass. The receiver is powered by an onboard battery with 24 hours operating capacity, rechargeable via a standard USB cable.

Adam Keene, Director of Agricision comments: “There are no cables in or around the cab and onTrak does not need a data connection or require a subscription. It is designed to be simple to operate, convenient and versatile, making use of an iPad or iPhone which most farmers and operators will already have.”

“onTrak is ideal for mixed and dairy farmers who don’t need sophisticated auto steer systems but can benefit from the increased accuracy offered by guidance. It will also give contractors the opportunity to offer their customers GPS-ready services, whilst in addition we see it as a useful guidance solution for tasks such as rolling or cultivating for larger arable enterprises when the most highly equipped tractors are tied up.”

“It is so versatile and easy to fit that the onTrak could be on a 150hp tractor with a set of Cambridge rolls one minute and a buggy spreading slug pellets the next.”

Future developments will include taking advantage of the iPhone and iPad’s connectivity to integrate guidance with other control and management functions.

OnTrak will be available to order at LAMMA for delivery in March and is priced at £675 plus VAT.

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