Is GPS the Emperor's New Clothes?
MULTIPLE ADVANTAGES TO APS
Anderson sees multiple advantages with APS, including sub-inch and repeatable accuracy as well as ease of use. He expects that when the job is done, field units would be removed, used elsewhere and replaced when needed. However, the anticipated price tag of $600 per set or $100 per transponder opens the door to permanent installations.
"We are close to getting them down to a single integrated chip, a solar panel and an enclosure," said Anderson.
Although cost and simplicity are attractive to Anderson, it is the reliability that drove his decision to bypass GPS. As a proponent of autonomous field equipment, he recognized that there can be no interruption of signal. Whether from a safety/liability standpoint or the time sensitive nature of farm work, waiting for a solar flare to end is not an option. Having RTK shut down, even temporarily while an accident or other emergency takes place in an area, likewise is not an option.
Anderson is confident that APS, whether introduced by his company or others, offers an attractive and superior option to GPS and RTK. The proof is in the interest he has received.
"Trimble, Topcon and Raven all want to know more about our system," said Anderson. "So do farmers, like the one who recently told me he uses GPS on his entire farm, except for 30 acres near his buildings. Agriculture has adapted GPS to its needs, but there are problems with it."