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Serving: IA

Autopilot RTK Gets Implement Steering

Trimble introduces roll-compensated implement guidance system.

On hills, terraces, low spots and high, Trimble's new implement steering system for its AgGPS Autopilot RTK system provides sub-inch accuracy of pull-behind tools.

Trimble had its yet-unamed system on display at the Sunbelt Ag Expo in Moultrie, Georgia this week, and officials there note it is the only system which uses corrected GPS signals to control side draft corrections for implements operating on uneven ground.

The T-3 system uses RTK signals along with three channels of gyroscopes and accelerometers to hydraulically guide a pair of 20-inch coulters that serve as "rudders" to steer implements ranging from rippers to 16-row planters. The unit will make up to 8.5 degrees of correction either direction to steer the implement with the same repeatable accuracy as the tractor.

Trimble's new system is based on iron work by Orthman and is integrated fully into its Autopilot system. Erick Arvensen, general manager of Trimble's ag division says "everything from the tractor back will run just under $20,000." The system simply plugs into a tractor with the Autopilot system and uses the existing integrated control panel to operate the implement steering system.

Side draft forces can push fixed-mounted implements more than two feet out of the row, and tow-behind implements much further, Arvensen told viewers at the demonstration at Spence Field. In high-value crops on level ground or any crop on a slope, such variation can be costly, particularly in cultivation operations, he explains. With the steerable implement, the side draft variations are eliminated.

The demonstrations showed the equipment capable of precisely placing the coulter blades of the test cultivator in the same tracks – backward or forward – from various entry points into the test plot. Moving over terraces showed the hydraulic-powered system capable of making quick, accurate moves to keep the implement on track.

For more information on the Autopilot system and the new implement steering add-on, call 1 (408) 481-8000. Or, visit


A single hydraulic cylinder, a pitman arm and tie rod control a pair of 20-inch coulters to keep tow-behind implements on track. The cylinder takes its cues from corrected RTK signals and Trimble’s Autopilot system.

Sub-inch accuracy – backward or forward – on sloped or rolling terrain is possible with Trimble’s new implement steering system based on its popular AgGPS Autopilot. The Orthman-manufactured add-on keeps the implement on the same track as the tractor.

TAGS: Management
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