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Automatic Steering ForTractors and Trucks
One of the big new attractions at farm machinery shows and fairs this summer and fall will be two automatic guidance systems for tractors, sprayers, combines and other equipment which we've been telling you about in previous issues of FARM SHOW.
"We'll have several hundred systems in the field by fall and are moving full speed ahead," a spokesman for Agnav told FARM SHOW two weeks ago. Marketing headquarters for the company has been moved from Virginia, Ill., to Springfield, Ill., since our last report.
Company officials say it took longer than they had anticipated to obtain FCC approval for the radio frequency used in the new guidance system.
The radio-controlled Agnav system doesn't do the actual steering but tells the driver, via a dial mounted on the dash, how to steer for precision accuracy both day and night. Instead of watching a marker line scratched on the ground, the driver watches the needle on an "error meter" and manually turns the steering wheel accordingly to keep the needle on dead center, and the tractor or truck on course. The guidance system adapts to tractors, trucks, combines, sprayers, floaters and other self-propelted equipment. Retail cost is right at $3,500.
In California, the Electronic Systems Division of Geosource, headquartered at Modesto, reports that its TAG System is catching on fast. With this system, the driver doesn't have to do any steering going down the row. When the "driverless" tractor comes to the end of the row, the driver simply hits a button on the dash to revert to manual steering while he makes the turn. As soon as the tractor is headed back down the field, he hits the "automatic steer" button. The tractor steers itself, leaving the driver free to devote full time to monitoring other operations.
Operation of the system is tied into the tractor's hydraulic system. At present, it available only on tractors equipped with closed center hydraulics. Most units sold have been installed on Deere, 20, 30 and 40 series tractors, and on late model White two-wheel drive models.
When the driver comes to the field with a cultivator, planter on other piece of equipment, he steers the tractor manually to make the first furrow mark with the power marker. The furrow-about 3 in. deep and 5 in. wide - serves as the guide for the TAG (which stands for Tractor Auto Guide) sensor arm mounted directly in front of the tractor. From this point on, the sensor rides in the existing furrow and the power marker automatically strikes a new furrow for automatic "driverless" steering of
the tractor as it works its way across the field. If the field is permanently ridged for vegetable or other crops, the TAG sensor arm can be adjusted to follow the existing furrow, or to straddle a bed.
The system sells for right at $2,950.
For more details, contact; FARM SHOW Followup, TAG System, Electronic Sorting Machine Div., Geosource, Inc., 3416 Oakdale Road, Modesto, Calif. 95355 (ph 209 522-3203).
For more details on the Agnav System mentioned above, contact; FARM SHOW Followup, Agnav, 203 North Burns Lane, Springfield, Ill. 62702 (ph 217 793-0970).

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1979 - Volume #3, Issue #3