Smart farming

May 16, 2013
Satnav steered tractor. Credit: ESA

Navtronics, a Belgium ESA Business Incubation Centre start-up company, is tailoring intelligent guidance for agricultural machinery using advanced satnav.

As any other industry, the agriculture sector is always looking for ways to raise productivity and reduce labour cost through new technologies. One is the use of high-end Real Time Kinematic (RTK) to steer and control tractors and implements.

RTK satnav increases the precision of position data derived from the Galileo, GPS and constellations. By using the 'phase' information of the signal's carrier wave, rather than just the signal content, and combining this with a reference station for realtime corrections, Navtronics' systems can provide up to centimetre-level accuracy.

This accuracy far exceeds manual steering, resulting in better use of available land and higher productivity from human and machine.

By 'automating' farm machinery, even unskilled drivers can achieve near-perfect results.

Tractor guidance system. Credit: Navtronics BVBA

The precision also avoids the double spraying of pesticides or, through mechanical weeding on organic farms, even eliminates the need for pesticides altogether – clearly better for the environment.

The Navtronics BVBA development of hard- and software solutions for automated agricultural guidance systems is being done with the support of ESA Technology Transfer Programme's Business Incubation Centre Flanders. The company is a spin-off from SBG Precision Farming in the Netherlands.

Explore further: NASA engineer advances new daytime star tracker

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Milestone for European navigation system

Mar 12, 2013

Galileo, Europe's rival to the US Global Positioning System (GPS), passed a milestone Tuesday when it pinpointed its first-ever ground location, the European Space Agency said.

Satellite navigation steers unmanned micro-planes

Sep 01, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- An unmanned aircraft system guided by satnav has been developed within ESA's Business Incubation Centre to provide rapid monitoring of land areas and disaster zones. The planes have already ...

EU's Galileo satnav system over budget, late: report

Oct 07, 2010

Europe's Galileo satellite navigation system, meant to rival the US-built Global Positioning System (GPS), is over budget, running late and will be unprofitable for years, a press report said on Thursday.

E-shirt improves physical exercise

Sep 17, 2010

Whether you are a professional athlete or just enjoy physical exercise, instant data on your performance can improve your training. With help from ESA, a Spanish firm has developed a smart ‘e-shirt’ to ...

Recommended for you

NASA engineer advances new daytime star tracker

42 minutes ago

Scientists who use high-altitude scientific balloons have high hopes for their instruments in the future. Although the floating behemoths that carry their instruments far into the stratosphere can stay aloft ...

Image: Sounding rockets launch into an aurora

1 hour ago

The interaction of solar winds and Earth's atmosphere produces northern lights, or auroras, that dance across the night sky and mesmerize the casual observer. However, to scientists this interaction is more ...

Gully patterns document Martian climate cycles

1 hour ago

Geologists from Brown University have found new evidence that glacier-like ice deposits advanced and retreated multiple times in the midlatitude regions of Mars in the relatively recent past.

Europe to resume satnav launches in March: Arianespace

1 hour ago

Europe in March will resume satellite launches for its troubled Galileo navigation system, hoping to boost by at least six the number of orbiters this year, Arianespace and the European Commission said Wednesday.

The two faces of Mars

4 hours ago

A moon-sized celestial object that crashed into the south pole: ETH researchers use a simulation to demonstrate why Mars consists of two notably different hemispheres.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.