Cellular-RTK Correction Network Delivers Consistent Accuracy
If you’ve ever used the navigation support features of your phone, you have experienced the benefits of GPS technology. While turn-by-turn directions can be incredibly helpful, the technology behind them is insufficient for delivering the high precision required for agricultural applications. To improve the precision of basic GPS technology, many companies rely on Real Time Kinematic (or RTK) positioning. RTK uses the phase of the satellite carrier’s signal phase and code content, but it includes information from a reference station to provide real-time correction data that is required for sub-inch precision steering. While RTK technology is an improvement over simple GPS, it is highly reliant on a consistent signal to the reference station. If that signal is interrupted due to line of sight issues—for example when a tractor goes behind a hill or manmade structure—the accuracy can dramatically degrade.
Case IH, a brand of CNH Industrial (NYSE: CNHI), has developed a network of inter-connected ground reference stations to solve this problem and deliver sub-inch accuracy for precision agriculture. An Advanced Farming Systems AFS RTK+ subscription allows producers to achieve sub-inch, repeatable accuracy through a network of dealer-supported base stations throughout the United States and Canada. Instead of relying on a single
ground reference station, the AFS RTK solution is based on a network of ground reference stations located in Case IH dealerships. To connect these reference stations to the central AFS software application, Case IH relies on Advantech Czech s.r.o. “SmartFlex” LTE routers. The SmartFlex routers are connected via Ethernet to the ground reference stations, and then create a VPN connection over the LTE carrier’s network, back to the AFS software.