Seeing Through the Trees

Melissa SandfortGeneral

John Deere recently announced enhancement to its guidance software offerings to bring more value and accuracy when using field equipment. Two new improvements include Long Range RTK, which expands the working distance of a vehicle from the base station, and Shading Optimization, which enhances AutoTrac performance in partially shaded conditions. The previous version of StarFire RTK had sub-inch accuracy but was limited to a six-mile radius from the base station. The new Long Range RTK software now maintains the accuracy but allows a 12-mile radius from the base station.

“We’ve also developed Shading Optimization software for our AutoTrac SF1 and SF2 systems,” explains Kayla Reynolds, product marketing manager, John Deere Ag Management Solutions (AMS). “Barriers such as trees, buildings or other structures are a problem for all guidance systems because they disrupt the satellite signal to the vehicle, especially during headland turns. Shading Optimization allows AutoTrac to stay enabled when moving through areas with trees and windbreaks.

“The AutoTrac guidance system usually needs a stable signal from the L1 and L2 bands. Previously, the system would shut down if one signal was missing because of shading. The new Shading Optimization continues to AutoTrac even if the StarFire iTC Receiver is receiving a signal from the L1 band only. This adds more consistency and accuracy to optimize the AutoTrac system. Signal disruption can still be a problem if both the L1 and L2 bands are lost,” says Reynolds. “But we’ve helped improve the overall system with the enhanced Shading Optimization software.”