GPS receivers and machine control

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GPS receivers can either assist operators in making better decisions by providing precise position information (indicate-only mode) or the GPS receiver, as part of a guidance system, can take over the operation of the machine’s implement itself (fully-automatic mode) to follow a preloaded design.

In fully-automatic mode, the RTK centimetre-level precision of the GPS guidance system is far more accurate and consistent than relying on the operator’s skill alone. Trenches can be dug to exact depths, tractors can be steered in perfect rows, piling rigs know the precise location for planting piles and surfaces can be fine graded first time. Not having to carry out frequent measurements and surveys means that work can be completed quicker, more cheaply and to a higher specification.

Compared to a Total Station, a GPS RTK system can be quickly up and running and doesn’t require any of the system elements to be in line of sight. A single reference base station can furnish all rover machines on-site continuously with RTK differential corrections. The status of the project and location of every machine on-site can be updated in real-time giving site managers a full overview of progress.

The essentials

Machine control applications are among the most challenging for GPS receivers. The physical and radio environments can be difficult enough but, operators will always try to push their equipment to its limits. So what should a GPS receiver be capable of to be considered a suitable candidate for machine control?

Spetentrio has identified these 6 musts for machine control:

  1. Position precision in difficult conditions

  2. Low latency and high data output rate

  3. Interference mitigation

  4. Heading

  5. Robust against heavy vibrations and bump

  6. Resistance to ionospheric disturbance

Click the link below to read in deatil how Septentrio deals with the