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A guidance control system for a harvester or like machinery includes a steering linkage operatively connected to at least one ground engaging wheel. Harvester steering is controlled through the linkage by either an operator controlled steering wheel or a sensor responsive self-steering mechanism. The sensor responsive self-steering mechanism includes a guide assembly pivotally mounted to the harvester. The guide assembly includes a pair of laterally spaced, cooperating tines that define a path therebetween for plants being harvested. A sensor positioned on each tine senses the position of plants as they are harvested. A control circuit is responsive to the sensors to selectively impart movement to the steering linkage to self-steer the harvester. The control circuit includes a main valve controlled by the operator controlled steering wheel and a secondary valve controlled by the sensors. An auxiliary feed line leads from the main valve to the secondary valve. When the operator utilizes the steering wheel control, an interrupter blocks hydraulic flow through the auxiliary line from the main valve to the secondary valve. Thus, operator controlled steering input overrides the sensor responsive self-steering for maximum safety. The guidance control system also eliminates harvester wander back and forth across a row by substantially preventing overcompensation by the sensor responsive self-steering.


University of Kentucky Research Foundation, Lexington, Ky.

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