It’s uncommon to hear something in precision agriculture described as “military grade,” but that’s what Swift Navigation and Carnegie Robotics claim with their collaborative project Duro, which is a rugged version of Swift Navigation’s Piksi Multi dual-frequency RTK GNSS receiver.

“The market differentiation is toughness,” says Rob Hranac, vice president of business development for Swift Navigation. “What’s outside is what we think is the most rugged GNSS case on the market.”

The weatherproof external enclosure leaves the sensitive, centimeter-accurate GNSS positioning receiver inside protected against weather, moisture, vibration, dust and even water immersion, Hranac says. The unit is also designed with connectivity in mind, with a whole host of connection options, including:

  • 1 x Power M12 5 pin connector
  • 1 x 4 pin Ethernet M12 connector
  • 1 x Serial M12 connector
  • 1 x 17 pin connector
    • 1 x Serial
    • 1 x CAN
    • 1 PPS
    • 12 V DC Power Out
    • Event Input

A planned future version of Duro will also be able to transfer data via cellular modem and SIM card. It should be relatively easy for most users to install: “Out of the box, you should be able to get it up and running in under an hour,” Hranac says.

Hranac says once Duro is commercially available, it will be priced around $2,000 – a price point that he hopes will entice more farmers to add precision capabilities to more implements and tractors in their fleet. For example, a recent Purdue University study showed around 50% of farms currently use Autosteer technology, and Hranac is hoping to spread it even further throughout farm country.

“You already see a lot of farmers using Autosteer, but this could help get it on more tractors and smaller tractors.”

Meantime, Chris Osterwood, Carnegie Robotics Chief Technical Officer, says lower-cost positioning tech will be key to popularizing another area of precision agriculture – autonomous farm vehicles.

“It’s an integral building block needed by robotics to flourish,” he says.

Hranac says Duro will continue to receive upgrades to additional satellite constellations and improvements via free software updates.

This is the first of several planned joint products in development between these two companies, who unveiled the Duro together at the AUVSI Xponential 2017 in Dallas, Texas, earlier today. Visit swiftnav.com for more information.