High accuracy GNSS positioning is an essential technology on Australian farms, whether producing grains, pulses, cotton, horticulture or sugarcane. Over 70 percent of grain growers and between 50 to 70 percent of sugar cane farmers, use some form of GNSS technology to primarily guide and/or automatically steer farm machinery.
Uses of the technology range from driving straight and hands-free for every machinery pass, inter-row activities (such as seeding, cultivating and spraying), individual seeder row control, forming raised beds, Controlled Traffic Farming, variable rate control, yield monitoring, section boom control for spraying, and GNSS controlled land levelling.
High accuracy GNSS is also being used for robotics and UAV (drones) positioning and control on a small number of Australian farms.
QZSS offers a viable solution to many of the GNSS challenges facing Australian farmers by providing satellite-delivered, high accuracy positioning corrections with reduced dependence on local base stations and without the need for terrestrial communications infrastructure such as radio or mobile phone connectivity. QZSS also has the unique benefit (when fully operational) that the satellites are high in the sky, reducing the problem of near-horizon obstruction by trees, mountains and buildings.
While the first QZSS demonstrator in Jerilderie in 2015 was successful in demonstrating achievable accuracy (+/- 5 cm), it also highlighted the challenge of solution convergence time, meaning the ability to deliver to the user a centimeter-accurate solution in a practical time period (e.g. a few minutes). During the Jerilderie trial, convergence times ranged from 30 to 60 minutes whereas solution convergence time of a few minutes was achieved in Mackay as a result of recent research outcomes from the CRCSI team, without compromising accuracy.
This project draws on partners from Japan and Australia.
Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications
Dr Phil Collier