Development of CAN-based distributed control system for variable rate technology in agricultural machinery
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The number of electronic devices connected to agricultural machinery is increasing to support new agricultural practices tasks related to the Precision Agriculture such as spatial variability mapping and Variable Rate Technology (VRT). The Distributed Control System (DCS) is a suitable solution for decentralization of the data acquisition system and the Controller Area Network (CAN) is the major trend among the embedded communications protocols for agricultural machinery and vehicles. The application of soil correctives is a typical problem in Brazil. The efficiency of this correction process is highly dependent of the inputs way at soil and the occurrence of errors affects directly the agricultural yield. To handle this problem, this paper presents the development of a CAN-based distributed control system for a VRT system of soil corrective in agricultural machinery. The VRT system is composed by a tractor-implement that applies a desired rate of inputs according to the georeferenced prescription map of the farm field to support PA (Precision Agriculture). The performance evaluation of the CAN-based VRT system was done by experimental tests and analyzing the CAN messages transmitted in the operation of the entire system. The results of the control error according to the necessity of agricultural application allow conclude that the developed VRT system is suitable for the agricultural productions reaching an acceptable response time and application error. The CAN-Based DCS solution applied in the VRT system reduced the complexity of the control system, easing the installation and maintenance. The use of VRT system allowed applying only the required inputs, increasing the efficiency operation and minimizing the environmental impact.