How much are your RTK GPS Systems, thinking of making one and selling it

Nuda

Member
Livestock Farmer
I'm a CS student in Ireland, my father has a small-medium sized beef farm (I forget what we are at now but less than 150acres) Most of his work is actually in the truck delivering stone, soil and **lime**. I've been down with him for part of the summer helping him spreading lime for customers and we were talking about the gps systems and how he wants one when it's hard to see tracks as a reference point when spreading the lime as you can be wasting valuable lime by overlapping and you might even do harm. I asked him how much he thought they were and I was shocked.

So after a bit of Googling about gps modules. It seems easily doable sub €2k for a receiver in the tractor (connected to your android tablet for display) and your own rtk base station with 1cm accuracy (equivalent or better than any current system). Obviously this is a lot of work so I want a tidy sum if I can get it all working and refined to a sellable product but I also need to know your must have features.


At an absolute minimum the system should have:
* Area of the field already covered
* Guidance (predetermined rows)
* Distance traveled


1. So what other features are especially important? rather than interesting but ultimately not selling point stuff like drainage mapping.

2. How much are your current systems altogether (subscriptions aswell)?

3. How much would you be willing to pay for a third party system?
 

Nuda

Member
Livestock Farmer
Oh and by making my own, I really do mean making my own. The prices seem so high from what I've heard that even a hand built system with consumer grade boards and components should easily best them in price... The only drawback is that there is only so much stuff I can implement and fancy 3d graphics etc is not top of the list. Ideally I'd want to this as part of my university course project and potentially secure funding.
 

Flatlander

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Lorette Manitoba
wont be as easy as your thinking as you’ll have various breeds of tractor to make it compatible with. Trimble has its entry level auto steer system that’s very adaptable to different tractors combines and sprayers but it’s only waas not rtk. To make it financially viable fir yourself you’ll need to shift enough units at a reasonable profit. getting a system to record acres covered,distance travelled is very low on the wish list of most farmers but accurate guidance and implement control eg sprayers on and off and variable rate applications would be something that would be a selling point. Look at the market your trying to break into an see if you can give the same levels of technology and make it cheaper and more user friendly. That being said I think a box standard accurate guidanc/ auto steer system that’s attractively prices would find a home in many farming operations Here in Canada. As for price range I’d think you’ll need to be half what the big boys are charging before many will part with hard earned money on home made technology. Subscription here are in the 15-1800$ range for rtk per year. Unlocks are extra per unit.
 

Badshot

Member
Location
Kent
Top of the list is auto steer, hydraulic valves are much faster and better at getting on line, rtk is a must, sprayer section and rate control, coverage mapping, repeatability of a-b lines year on year.
Compatibility, it really bugs me that all the systems need a different signal from the base, it's anti competitive by the manufacturers.

There are systems out there cheaper, beeline and a Chinese company I can't remember off the top of my head, but the absolute must is backup, without the backup none of the systems are any use at all as farmers aren't computer geniuses like yourself.
 

holwellcourtfarm

Member
NFFN Member
Depends on your target market. If its just guidance without auto steering then units like Trimble's Easi-Guide 250 running on EGNOS correction are around £1500 new (half that used) and achieve sub metre accuracy. That's all you'll get in reality from a full rtk setup if steering manually.

If you offer steering assist (usually with a powered steering wheel) then your market expands a bit and competing commercial products are around the £5000 mark complete.

The main market over here on the UK mainland is for full rtk multi-function control with auto steer (linked to manufacturer fitted steering valves and sensors) coupled with auto section shut-off and variable rate application on sprayers and spreaders. That sort of kit is around £10k to fit to a tractor already fitted with the valve and sensors by the manufacturer (increasingly common) or £12k without.

You are also competing with AgOpenGPS for those folk willing to DIY.

Auto steer is the big selling point.
 
Location
North
A 100% DIY would not work for your father. Sorry but he does not live long enough, you would not finish the system in time (if you were doing everything alone).

Fortunately you do not need to build everything yourself. A lot of talk about AgOpenGPS here at this forum (and their discussion group). For guidance only you would not even need RTK accuracy (your private GNSS implementation would not be better than the commercial receivers but absolutely close enough). Purchase a receiver like Ardusimple SimpleRTK2B and plug it to your Windows tablet/laptop and run AOG.

AOG is perfect in the sense that it is not difficult to extend it to full auto-steer at RTK accuracy. See what forum members here have achieved.
 

Nuda

Member
Livestock Farmer
A 100% DIY would not work for your father. Sorry but he does not live long enough, you would not finish the system in time (if you were doing everything alone).

Fortunately you do not need to build everything yourself. A lot of talk about AgOpenGPS here at this forum (and their discussion group). For guidance only you would not even need RTK accuracy (your private GNSS implementation would not be better than the commercial receivers but absolutely close enough). Purchase a receiver like Ardusimple SimpleRTK2B and plug it to your Windows tablet/laptop and run AOG.

AOG is perfect in the sense that it is not difficult to extend it to full auto-steer at RTK accuracy. See what forum members here have achieved.
The f9p is the module I'm looking at but using it without rtk as a standalone receiver is <1.5metres accuracy which is useless, that's worse than guessing with the lime spreader. RTK does double the equipment but sub centimeter accuracy is much more preferable and if you get something like the one from gnss.store is offering with a integrated antenna and a magnetometer you now have a compact accurate GPS reading with another option for determining heading direction. 2x of those + 2x radio communication or cellular with some cheap boards (Arduino , pi etc) connect it to a android device and that's everything you need (bar auto steer)

AgOpenGPS is very interesting with auto steer but using windows as the host platform is very questionable and there's almost nonexistent documentation. For me though auto steer isn't part of the scope for this nor do I think it is economically viable without a lot of development.

All he wants is basic heading guidance, which frankly software wise should be extremely easy, draw a straight line, say how much you are left or right of that line. Plotting rows is more time consuming than actually difficult to implement. Once the data is there on a android (or windows ffs) device that's all the awkward stuff done.

There are modules where sub meter accuracy is easily available at a very very low cost but I feel any sort of system that is 50+cm accuracy is a gimmick. It would only be useful on very large equipment where they are probably more than willing to spend good money on auto steer systems.

I dunno how much of a market there is without auto steer and I've never actually seen it in use, trying to see if I can get one of the neighbors to let me see for myself.
 

Nuda

Member
Livestock Farmer
Depends on your target market. If its just guidance without auto steering then units like Trimble's Easi-Guide 250 running on EGNOS correction are around £1500 new (half that used) and achieve sub metre accuracy. That's all you'll get in reality from a full rtk setup if steering manually.

If you offer steering assist (usually with a powered steering wheel) then your market expands a bit and competing commercial products are around the £5000 mark complete.

The main market over here on the UK mainland is for full rtk multi-function control with auto steer (linked to manufacturer fitted steering valves and sensors) coupled with auto section shut-off and variable rate application on sprayers and spreaders. That sort of kit is around £10k to fit to a tractor already fitted with the valve and sensors by the manufacturer (increasingly common) or £12k without.

You are also competing with AgOpenGPS for those folk willing to DIY.

Auto steer is the big selling point.
I am never going to do auto steer on older tractors but I might have a look at how the prefitted stuff is like if I don't have to develop any sort of mounting setup with a motor to turn the steering rack.

I'm going to take a *wild* guess and say it's all proprietary though :/
 

Nuda

Member
Livestock Farmer
I am never going to do auto steer on older tractors but I might have a look at how the prefitted stuff is like if I don't have to develop any sort of mounting setup with a motor to turn the steering rack.

I'm going to take a *wild* guess and say it's all proprietary though :/
Or steering column I should say
 
Location
North
The f9p is the module I'm looking at but using it without rtk as a standalone receiver is <1.5metres accuracy which is useless, that's worse than guessing with the lime spreader. RTK does double the equipment but sub centimeter accuracy is much more preferable and if you get something like the one from gnss.store is offering with a integrated antenna and a magnetometer you now have a compact accurate GPS reading with another option for determining heading direction. 2x of those + 2x radio communication or cellular with some cheap boards (Arduino , pi etc) connect it to a android device and that's everything you need (bar auto steer)

AgOpenGPS is very interesting with auto steer but using windows as the host platform is very questionable and there's almost nonexistent documentation. For me though auto steer isn't part of the scope for this nor do I think it is economically viable without a lot of development.

All he wants is basic heading guidance, which frankly software wise should be extremely easy, draw a straight line, say how much you are left or right of that line. Plotting rows is more time consuming than actually difficult to implement. Once the data is there on a android (or windows ffs) device that's all the awkward stuff done.

There are modules where sub meter accuracy is easily available at a very very low cost but I feel any sort of system that is 50+cm accuracy is a gimmick. It would only be useful on very large equipment where they are probably more than willing to spend good money on auto steer systems.

I dunno how much of a market there is without auto steer and I've never actually seen it in use, trying to see if I can get one of the neighbors to let me see for myself.

I have to say all my GNSS receivers work on RTK, including the F9P from Ardusimple. I have no personal experience about the F9P without RTK correction but I've read comments that it is equally accurate as an EGNOS capable receiver (F9P itself about the same with or without EGNOS, now that it is supported).

Most often it is the pass-to-pass accuracy that counts but I agree, RTK makes everything simple even if centimetre accuracy was not needed (no way to manually steer at cm accuracy).

Let us know when your project documentation is ready, I'd like to compare it with that of AOG.
 

PSQ

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Scottish Borders
You'd be reinventing the wheel, and life's too short.

Buy something like a Trimble FM-750 for £3000 new, add in an EZ Steer system (£1500 last one I bought) which does the job perfectly adequately, and after a day you'll realise just how well the existing systems work. You'll also kick yourself for not buying it years ago.
 

holwellcourtfarm

Member
NFFN Member
The f9p is the module I'm looking at but using it without rtk as a standalone receiver is <1.5metres accuracy which is useless, that's worse than guessing with the lime spreader. RTK does double the equipment but sub centimeter accuracy is much more preferable and if you get something like the one from gnss.store is offering with a integrated antenna and a magnetometer you now have a compact accurate GPS reading with another option for determining heading direction. 2x of those + 2x radio communication or cellular with some cheap boards (Arduino , pi etc) connect it to a android device and that's everything you need (bar auto steer)

AgOpenGPS is very interesting with auto steer but using windows as the host platform is very questionable and there's almost nonexistent documentation. For me though auto steer isn't part of the scope for this nor do I think it is economically viable without a lot of development.

All he wants is basic heading guidance, which frankly software wise should be extremely easy, draw a straight line, say how much you are left or right of that line. Plotting rows is more time consuming than actually difficult to implement. Once the data is there on a android (or windows ffs) device that's all the awkward stuff done.

There are modules where sub meter accuracy is easily available at a very very low cost but I feel any sort of system that is 50+cm accuracy is a gimmick. It would only be useful on very large equipment where they are probably more than willing to spend good money on auto steer systems.

I dunno how much of a market there is without auto steer and I've never actually seen it in use, trying to see if I can get one of the neighbors to let me see for myself.
He'll be doing well to steer manually much more accurately than 50cm unless going slowly on a nice flat field, whatever guidance he uses.
 

Robt

Member
Location
Suffolk
I have said it countless times on here. RTK lightbars are completely pointless. You don’t need RTK for a light bar.
your business idea is good but sadly floored. The kits you mention aren’t meant to be retailed to non tech savvy users. You could try but the support you will have to offer will drive you mad!
 

Nuda

Member
Livestock Farmer
He'll be doing well to steer manually much more accurately than 50cm unless going slowly on a nice flat field, whatever guidance he uses.
Depends on the job, for example if you were 50+cm inaccurate with a power harrow no gps at all you need your eyes tested.

And if I'm developing it myself the material cost is what €300-400 extra? I think it's worthwhile.
 

holwellcourtfarm

Member
NFFN Member
Depends on the job, for example if you were 50+cm inaccurate with a power harrow no gps at all you need your eyes tested.

And if I'm developing it myself the material cost is what €300-400 extra? I think it's worthwhile.
Go ahead, every option in the market helps keep costs under control.

Your comparison is not valid though, a power harrow leaves a very clear edge to follow and is much narrower than the pattern from a spreader.

With a 3m mower I can drive to around 5cm most of the time because I have a clear edge to follow that's so close there's no parrallax effect but with a fertiliser spreader (where you can't see the product in the ground) on 24m spread I'd do well to achieve +/- 1.5m by eye without guidance, even with a foam blobber.
 

agref

Member
Arable Farmer
Hi nuda,
I would really recomend first trying to build an agopengps system. It's a good way of learning about the gps systems and what to look out for.
For example placement of the antenna could be important. But also how important the RTK exactly is.

for example it is not the case that if you don't use rtk that the tractor will start overlapping like mad. What not having an rtk signal will cause is that if you come back a day later you'r ab line may have shifter because of satelite drift. But if it only takes you 2 hours from start to finnish you will bearly notice it. Just don't expect to come back a day later on the same lines.

Also the agopengps forum is filled with these kinds of information. A lot of people trying there own projects and so on. I know there are people there that would like to make a non c# port.
However if you want to make loads of money on this I would not even start. It's 1 thing to make this program. But to sell it with electronics is very expensive. You will need licenses and so on. And if something go's wrong it could be that they keep you accountable.

Only lightbar I would also not recomend. Drove like that for a few months to test the agopengps system and it will cause you to concentrate on the lightbar and forget to look at your machine,ground,....
 

Update on the Sustainable Farming Incentive pilot

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Update on the Sustainable Farming Incentive pilot

Written by Lisa Applin

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In July, we opened the applications window for farmers to join our Sustainable Farming Incentive pilot.

The Sustainable Farming Incentive is 1 of the 3 new environmental land management schemes. It sits alongside the future Local Nature Recovery and Landscape Recovery schemes.

Through the Sustainable Farming Incentive, farmers will be paid for environmentally sustainable actions – ones that are simple to do and do not require previous agri-environment scheme experience.

We are piloting the scheme to...
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