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In-Cab Computing for precision agriculture, customization and functionality

In terms of in-cab computing solutions for the agriculture market, companies like Case IH, Topcon, Trimble, John Deere and Raven spent the past 12 months mostly tweaking and adding capabilities to make their displays more modular, more automated and more customizable to the end user.

“I like to think the off-road industries tend to follow trends of the on-road or automotive industry,” says Mike Gomes, vice president of business development, Topcon Precision Agriculture. “And that’s what we’re seeing within in-cab computing; guys want to view multiple screen views with more features and have the capability to make machine specific adjustments with a single touch.”

Topcon did, however, release a new display in the last few months with its 8-inch X25 display, which debuted back in December, just in time for the winter trade show circuit. X25 is the mid-range display to compliment Topcon’s “X” family of displays, as their X30 is a 12.1-inch screen while X14 features a 4.3-inch screen.

X25 features Topcon’s Horizon software, along with its popular customizable dashboard, and it allows an operator to view up to three operating screens with the capability of utilizing two mini-view widgets (for example, a variable-rate [VR] prescription map and rate control view), allowing for on-the-go swapping of three different diagnostic views with the swipe of a finger.

“More often, adopting precision agriculture has meant putting a second console in the cab to facilitate various implement functions,” says Gomes.

According to Gomes, X25 finds its fit with the user that requires some of the advanced functionality that comes with the top-of-the-line X30, but doesn’t “quite need all of the bells and whistles.”

Going forward, Topcon continues to add functionality to its Horizon software, along with integration of its Water Conservation suite, and a continued commitment to expanding functionality and compatibility via ISO-11783 protocols.

“It’s about providing solutions that customers can grow with, as they deepen their adoption of precision agriculture into their farming operations,” says Gomes.

Trimble

Trimble, meanwhile, continues to innovate its premier, highest functioning in-cab display, the TMX-2050. New for 2015 is the display’s custom­izable app-based environment and support for the WM-Form land forming solution.

T.J. Schulte, market manager for Trimble Agriculture, says the recent updates to the Android-based display include a suite of apps that provide growers with greater flexibility to customize the display for their farming operations. Going forward, Trimble also is focused on working with resellers on new specific-to-market TMX-2050 apps. The company provides a Webpage where developers can submit app ideas directly to Trimble.

WM-Form, which ties in with Trim­ble’s much-discussed Connected Farm farm management software, also uses RTK to generate a “high accuracy topographic three dimensional image of a field, according to Chris Van der Loo, water solutions marketing director.

“For a grower that’s dealing with some ponding issues on one segment of their field, we can use WM-Form to reshape the land surface with minimum cut and fill — which saves time and fuel,” he says.

Van der Loo ticks off quite a few benefits of implementing WM-Form, from being able to open up more land for surface irrigation opportunities out west by reconfiguring the slope of the land for optimal water permeation and erosion avoidance, to ensuring levees for a rice grower in the South are a lot straighter for optimal watering of the field, and minimal dirt movement.

John Deere

Back in February John Deere (Olathe, KS) announced enhancements to both its Machine Sync automated data transfer solution, as well as its GreenStar 3 2630 Display.

“We’ve taken John Deere Machine Sync to the next level in multi-machine automation and operational logistics,” said J.C. Funke, Deere Intelligent Solutions Group, in a press release.

Funke says Machine Sync now has the ability to share coverage maps while seeding, spraying or applying fertilizer, and section control can now be triggered on or off based on another machines coverage map. Guidance lines are also shareable between machines, a feature especially useful for when two vehicles are working in the same field and need to use AutoTrac on the same guidance lines.

Raven Industries

Raven Industries, meanwhile, has released a few updates for its flagship display, Viper 4 — which Ryan Molitor, marketing manager, says is geared toward use in large application equipment such as sprayers and dry fertilizer spreaders.

Raven Viper 4
Raven Viper 4

New for 2015 for Viper 4 is the addition of an ISOBUS virtual terminal — which helps Raven offer the ISO-compatible products (not just Raven proprietary) that users are increasingly seeking out in greater numbers, according to Molitor. Also new is the Hawkeye Nozzle Control System — which displays on the Viper 4 as well as other virtual terminals.

Over the next 12 months Raven will be engaging industry partners on Application Program Interfaces (APIs), allowing Viper 4 to extract and use data from third-party products and software solutions.

“For example, with our SST Summit API a grower can create a VR map (shape file) in Summit and then click to send it directly to the Viper 4 field computer in the cab,” says Molitor. “Then the applicator pulls up the map, uses it to complete his field tasks and when the job is finished, it pushes the map and all the data it captured back to SST Summit.”

Case IH

Case IH’s precision agriculture brand, AFS, continues to tout its AFS 700 as its top in-cab computing display for 2015.

Joe Michaels, senior director of specialty products, Case IH NAFTA (North America), detailed some updates that have hit the 700 since last May.

“We have added a Multiswath capability, which is a new guidance line pattern, and we’ve also expanded our support of ISOBUS implements with our ISO Task Controller,” he said in a recent e-mail exchange. “Also, our Accu-control software now supports variable-rate seeding and granular operations as we expand functionality for previously supported operations like planting and spraying.”

As for wireless data transfer with the 700, Case continues to advocate its “farmer first” approach to data management.

(Source – http://www.croplife.com/equipment/precision-ag/focus-on-in-cab-connectivity/)

One comment

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