A furrow-following tractor guidance system
Kirk, Thomas Gordon
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This thesis describes the development of a marker-follower guidance system for farm tractors. With each pass of the tractor and implement, the system leaves a furrow-marker which is followed on the next pass. For perimeter operation, the system can be used as the major portion of a fully automatic guidance system; the farmer makes the first pass around the outside of the field, and the system makes each subsequent pass around the field automatically, working its way into the centre of the field. For switchback operation the system can be used in the semi-automatic mode with the farmer remaining on the tractor; by automatically guiding the tractor between the headlands, driver fatigue is lessened and efficiency is increased. This guidance system, with proper adaptation, could be used for most tillage and seeding operations. Field tests on a cultivated field showed the system to have good following characteristics on both straight and curved paths. The system showed good stability at speeds up to 6 miles per hour on straight paths, and was capable of following a 15 foot radius turn at 2.5 miles per hour.