[FoRK] tractor tech

Dave Long dave.long at bluewin.ch
Tue May 3 08:01:28 PDT 2016

Short illustration of agricultural automated assistance: I picked up  
the Fendt 900 Vario brochure while at the tractor dealership[0] the  
other day, and although I don't know for sure (not being in the  
market for a mid-six-figure tractor myself) how things work exactly,  
the general spread for GPS/DGPS assistance options seems to go as  

low end: +- 20 cm accuracy, automatically turns (or at least stops  
and starts equipment?) at the edges of your fields.  ~2'800 EUR
mid level: +- 5 cm, automatically adjusts material deposition to  
"clip" properly on passes running diagonally[1] to previous. ~4'500 EUR
high end: +- 2 cm accuracy, ~20 min. worth of ded. reckoning in case  
of signal loss, real-time telemetry between tractor in field and home  
office. ~12'000 EUR

The tractor UI is a 10.4" touch screen which displays between 1-4  
applications simultaneously (making it much more versatile than my  
current, admittedly antiquated, phone)

...and one part of the brochure seemed to describe being able to  
program in "macros" to have one-click access to complicated  
procedures.  Guess it won't be long before one can make small talk  
with a farmer by asking them about their dotfile setup.


[0] My grandmother's advice: if you absolutely insist on getting  
mixed up in agriculture, dealing in tractors is one of the safer bets.
[1] I'd guess tractor driving can be done with much the same software  
as tool path planning for machining, but while generally a tool swept  
area has to be rotationally symmetric, for the tractor the ground  
swept path (for tools present on the bus, which no doubt also don't  
come cheaply) can be adjusted on the fly.

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