15 universal autosteer systems to choose from

Photo: Topcon
Photo: Topcon

The number of universal autosteer systems to choose from has increased from 12 last year to 15 this year. Find the answers to all your questions and the prices in our updated buyers guide.

The retrofit market for autosteer, auto guidance and autopilot systems was initiated exactly 25 years ago by Australian farmers Mike and Robert Mailler. They started using their in-house, or rather on-farm developed universal controlled steering system in 1997 because there weren’t any systems on the market yet.

Today, every tractor manufacturer offers factory-fitted autosteer systems and pre-installed components to add on such a system afterwards. The brand independent or universal autosteer systems that opened up the market are still widely available and the number of suppliers actually exceeds the number of systems offered by tractor manufacturers.

Cerea

CHC Navigation offers two types of electrical steering systems that can be fitted on all brands and types of tractors and vehicles including articulated and tracked models. - Photo: CHC Navigation
CHC Navigation offers two types of electrical steering systems that can be fitted on all brands and types of tractors and vehicles including articulated and tracked models. – Photo: CHC Navigation

If you’re handy and enjoy compiling or even engineering a steering system to your own liking, you can opt for a system such as Cerea. This company not only offers the most affordable turn-key RTK-systems but also a software license intended for home-made autosteer systems for € 200 (US $ 227). Another option is to build your own system and use the free Windows-based open source navigation software AgOpenGPS developed by Canadian farmer Brian Tischler. The hardware components required typically cost between € 1,500 ($ 1,700) and € 2,000 ($ 2.275). Directions, help and manuals can be found here and on Tischler’s YouTube channel. The AgOpenGPS solution is not included in Future Farming’s catalogue however as it’s not a commercially available option.

More suppliers around

The types of available patterns are important to take into account as fields are irregular, contain obstacles and need to be treated different depending on the type of operation. - Photo: FieldBee
The types of available patterns are important to take into account as fields are irregular, contain obstacles and need to be treated different depending on the type of operation. – Photo: FieldBee

The updated and expanded buyers guide contains 11 manufacturers, one more than previously as Chinese manufacturer CHC Navigation provided details and prices of their NX510 autosteering system. All in all, it was these 11 manufacturers who responded in time to our invitation to be included. Other suppliers are invited to ask for the questionnaire to complete in order to be included.

Interestingly enough, some list prices haven’t really gone up considering the current situation of lack of components and increasing price levels. Some have even gone down in price. But in the end, it’s the net price you need to pay that makes the real difference and not increasing list prices might be done for positioning and/or marketing reasons. TeeJet is now offering its UniPilot Pro in combination with the Matrix 908 terminal only and this means that the starting price has increased from € 6,500 last year to € 9,500 this year.

Find answers

Have a look at the updated and expanded buyers guide to find out which brand and which system suits your needs and budget best. Find the answers to the most commonly asked questions and submerge yourself in details and specifications such as how easy the systems can be fitted and removed, what patterns are available, how often you receive software updates, the price of typical unlocks and the number of supported implement and machine sections.

Koerhuis
René Koerhuis Precision Farming Specialist
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