The goal of this project was to evaluate the potential of a controller area network (CAN bus) to be used as the communication network for a distributed control system on an autonomous agricultural vehicle. The prototype system utilized microcontroller-driven nodes to act as control points along a CAN bus. Messages were transferred to the steering, transmission, and hitch control nodes via a task computer. The task computer utilized global positioning system data to generate appropriate control commands. Laboratory and field testing demonstrated that each of the control nodes could function simultaneously over the CAN bus. Results showed that the task computer adequately applied a feedback control model to the system and achieved guidance accuracy levels well within the desired range. Testing also demonstrated the system’s ability to complete normal field operations, such as headland turning and implement control.

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Published in Transactions of the ASAE, v. 48, issue 2, p. 479-490.

© 2005 American Society of Agricultural Engineers

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