Project show and tell - steering control
This is my second year using a Fusion Brain to steer a vehicle via GPS, and the v4 FB has been working perfectly. We have approximately 100 hours of use on the tractor over the last week.
I'm reading a steering angle sensor, a yaw rate sensor, and a tilt sensor, and controlling an electro-hydraulic valve for steering, as well as two solenoids for section control.
The vehicle is a farm tractor (Case IH 8950, approximately 250 HP), and it is pulling a 40' wide planter. For GPS, I'm using a Trimble 252 receiver that is using OmniStar XP correction data (position accuracy is typically within 1-2 inches over 15 minutes). Having a computer steer the vehicle allows us to keep a closer eye on the rest of the machine to make sure it is working correctly. For safety reasons, there is always an operator present in the cab, and we don't use it on the road.
Traditionally we would use markers to cut a path in the soil for the next pass, which you then drive right on top of that mark on the next pass. You can see the markers on the sides/top of the planter in the first picture. We still use them for the outside two passes that are manually driven, but don't bother with them once we can use the auto-steer.
I'm also controlling the planter so that it won't drop seeds where it has already traveled. The planter has two solenoids to do this, one for each half of the planter. When we are working on angle rows, the system will shut one off before the other. This saves us the cost of extra seed, prevents planting too many seeds in one area (overpopulation, which leads to reduced yield because the plants compete for sunlight and nutrients), and it saves us time because we don't have to stop to turn around. Previously, we would stop exactly where we wanted to quit dropping seed, pick up, turn around, stop again, lower the planter, and start going. Now I just shift down a couple gears, pick up, turn, set down, and shift back up a a couple gears. The time savings is 15-30 seconds per turn, and we do several hundred turns per day. That looks like this:
And a whole field looks like this:
Note: the colored part of that map is where the FB was used to steer the vehicle.