Each year, the agriculture industry’s technological solutions become increasingly advanced. From autonomous weeding robots to driverless sprayers, the latest machines navigate challenging terrain, identify specific targets and carry out the designated tasks. This high-precision navigation requires the help of state-of-the-art positioning solutions with centimeter-level accuracy.
Enter u-blox, a global technology company that provides secure, reliable and easy-to-use core components and data services for wireless connectivity, positioning and communication. The company’s signature silicon-to-cloud offering is a unique solution that lets customers collect and encrypt geo-tagged data at the endpoint and transfer it to their enterprise system where it can be decrypted. This is particularly helpful for protecting private information.
Although u-blox has long offered these types of applications for the automotive, healthcare, asset tracking and management, and industrial automation and monitoring industries, precision agriculture is an emerging market for the company. It’s clear that the farming sector, with its growing reliance on smart devices and data, could benefit from the technology, too.
“We empower customers to locate their devices and connect them from silicon to cloud,” says Patty Felts, Product Marketing, Services at u-blox. “High-precision navigation applications are expanding more than ever before. Millions of IoT devices will expect precise positioning solutions that are robust, scalable and simple to use. Precision agriculture applications with use cases like autonomous farming and robotic agriculture are just the beginning.”
At FIRA USA, which begins September 19, 2023, in Salinas, California, the innovative technology supplier will showcase its precise positioning solution. This solution combines u-blox’s PointPerfect GNSS augmentation service with its u-blox F9, a high-precision GNSS multi-band RTK receiver. PointPerfect comes pre-integrated with u-blox F9, so the solutions are immediately ready to go. When used together, users can expect centimeter-level location accuracy in seconds.
On its own, the F9 provides concurrent reception for all four satellite constellations (GPS, GLONASS, Galileo and BeiDou) in an energy-efficient package. Adding u-blox’s PointPerfect GNSS correction data to the RTK receiver enables centimeter-level accuracy and makes the two-part solution accessible and effortless with coverage on a continental scale. Users also get 99.9 percent uptime availability via the internet and L-band satellite, which means PointPerfect and F9 can be used for mission-critical applications, such as operating autonomous machines.
Another important benefit is u-blox’s intuitive cloud platform that enables users to manage entire device fleets, monitor tasks and have complete API control. Farmers will also appreciate that the devices automatically onboard themselves, accessing and connecting to PointPerfect without requiring any technical expertise to manage each machine’s digital certificates. This makes deploying a fleet of autonomous robots incredibly simple.
Perhaps the biggest perk, however, is the solution’s impressive price point. PointPerfect and F9 are purposefully designed to optimize bandwidth and significantly reduce data costs.
“Our solution lands in the sweet spot between performance and price, offering a better value for your business,” Felts says. “It is also a disrupter in the industry by being a cost-effective solution designed to enable the mass adoption of high-precision technology. Typical RTK services are too expensive to be practical—usually around $1,000 per year—which is why PointPerfect offers a range of flexible service pricing plans tailored to suit your specific use cases.”
By comparison, PointPerfect users can expect services cost of approximately $0.035 per hour. Service plans include pay-as-you-go, hourly-based, by-device or pooled plans, as well as a subscription model. Each option gives farmers a better value for their current and future business needs. For operations with data cost limitations, PointPerfect can help. At FIRA USA, u-blox will announce an enhancement to its solution, making it ideally suited for applications that may use restricted data bandwidth or constrained connectivity plans.
“The ‘to be announced’ feature significantly reduces the required data bandwidth of PointPerfect is another step in our aim to enable a mass market scale of precise positioning solutions that are accurate, reliable and easy to use,” Felts says. “This is a big deal because user data cost is a factor in the overall ROI equation for selecting and using GNSS correction services. Vastly reducing the data usage is more cost-efficient, creating a better value for customers that allows them to scale their businesses.”
While u-blox understands that cost pressures and connectivity issues are common industry problems, the technology supplier is eager to attend FIRA USA. The company views the event as an important opportunity to connect with agriculture professionals, listen to their experiences and better understand their perspectives.
“At u-blox, we aim to learn about the key problems and challenges the industry is facing,” Felt says, “and explore how we can continually contribute solutions and add value.”
To learn more about PointPerfect, F9 and how u-blox works to make precise positioning solutions that are robust, cost-effective and easier to use than ever before, visit https://www.u-blox.com/en/precise-positioning-made-easy