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App turns smartphone into a cheap tractor guidance system

A steering guidance lightbar that connects wirelessly to an Apple iPhone or iPad is designed as an entry-level device for farmers wanting to improve spraying, fertiliser spreading and tillage tool bout matching accuracy.

The onTrak from UK start-up Agricision has a combined GNSS receiver and lightbar, and is usually mounted on a tractor engine hood rather than inside the cab, which the company says makes it easier to use as the operator looks ahead.

Bluetooth connects the device wirelessly to the iPad or iPhone, on which a free app provides set-up and control functions, as well as a swathe display.

Guidance can be paused for sprayer or spreader refills and is claimed to meet the industry standard accuracy of 20cm pass-to-pass using any freely available satellite source. Data can be stored against a field name for future use and battery power is geared for up to 24 hours’ use before a USB cable recharge.

Agricision director Adam Keene says the onTrak is ideal for mixed enterprise farms and livestock units that can benefit from the increased accuracy offered by guidance without investing in sophisticated auto steer systems.

OnTrak offers GPS-ready services

“It also gives contractors the opportunity to offer their customers GPS-ready services, and it’s a useful guidance solution on larger cropping enterprises for tasks such as rolling or cultivating when the most highly equipped tractors are tied up on other jobs.”

The hood mounting in line with the tractor’s front wheels is also said to improve the system’s responsiveness.