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System and method for using impulse radio technology in the farming field

Imported: 23 Feb '17 | Published: 22 Oct '02

James L. Richards, Larry W. Fullerton, Donald A. Kelly, David C. Meigs, Timothy T. Payment, James S. Finn, William J. Tucker, William D. Welch, Jr.

USPTO - Utility Patents

Abstract

A system, electronic monitor and method are provided that utilize impulse radio technology to enable a farmer to accurately track a position of an object (e.g., farm equipment, farm animal, farm employee) as the object moves around a farm and/or to enable a farmer to monitor a variety of parameters associated with the moving farm equipment. In addition, the system, electronic monitor and method can utilize impulse radio technology to help control either remotely or automatically one or more pieces of farm equipment.

Description

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

A more complete understanding of the present invention may be had by reference to the following detailed description when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings wherein:

FIG. 1A illustrates a representative Gaussian Monocycle waveform in the time domain.

FIG. 1B illustrates the frequency domain amplitude of the Gaussian Monocycle of FIG.

1A.

FIG. 2A illustrates a pulse train comprising pulses as in FIG.

1A.

FIG. 2B illustrates the frequency domain amplitude of the waveform of FIG.

2A.

FIG. 3 illustrates the frequency domain amplitude of a sequence of time coded pulses.

FIG. 4 illustrates a typical received signal and interference signal.

FIG. 5A illustrates a typical geometrical configuration giving rise to multipath received signals.

FIG. 5B illustrates exemplary multipath signals in the time domain.

FIGS. 5C-5E illustrate a signal plot of various multipath environments.

FIG. 5F illustrates a plurality of multipaths with a plurality of reflectors from a transmitter to a receiver.

FIG. 5G graphically represents signal strength as volts vs. time in a direct path and multipath environment.

FIG. 5H graphically represents signal strength as volts vs. time in a direct path and multipath environment.

FIG. 6 illustrates a representative impulse radio transmitter functional diagram.

FIG. 7 illustrates a representative impulse radio receiver functional diagram.

FIG. 8A illustrates a representative received pulse signal at the input to the correlator.

FIG. 8B illustrates a sequence of representative impulse signals in the correlation process.

FIG. 8C illustrates the output of the correlator for each of the time offsets of FIG.

8B.

FIG. 9 is a diagram illustrating the basic components of a system in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 10 is a diagram illustrating in greater detail an electronic monitor and tractor of the system shown in FIG.

9.

FIG. 11 is a diagram illustrating the system of FIG. 9 used in a farming environment.

FIG. 12 is a flowchart illustrating the basic steps of a preferred method for tracking and monitoring an object in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 13 is a flowchart illustrating the basic steps of a preferred method for increasing the profitability of a farming operation in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 14 is a block diagram of an impulse radio positioning network utilizing a synchronized transceiver tracking architecture that can be used in the present invention.

FIG. 15 is a block diagram of an impulse radio positioning network utilizing an unsynchronized transceiver tracking architecture that can be used in the present invention.

FIG. 16 is a block diagram of an impulse radio positioning network utilizing a synchronized transmitter tracking architecture that can be used in the present invention.

FIG. 17 is a block diagram of an impulse radio positioning network utilizing an unsynchronized transmitter tracking architecture that can be used in the present invention.

FIG. 18 is a block diagram of an impulse radio positioning network utilizing a synchronized receiver tracking architecture that can be used in the present invention.

FIG. 19 is a block diagram of an impulse radio positioning network utilizing an unsynchronized receiver tracking architecture that can be used in the present invention.

FIG. 20 is a diagram of an impulse radio positioning network utilizing a mixed mode reference radio tracking architecture that can be used in the present invention.

FIG. 21 is a diagram of an impulse radio positioning network utilizing a mixed mode mobile apparatus tracking architecture that can be used in the present invention.

FIG. 22 is a diagram of a steerable null antennae architecture capable of being used in an impulse radio positioning network in accordance the present invention.

FIG. 23 is a diagram of a specialized difference antennae architecture capable of being used in an impulse radio positioning network in accordance the present invention.

FIG. 24 is a diagram of a specialized directional antennae architecture capable of being used in an impulse radio positioning network in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 25 is a diagram of an amplitude sensing architecture capable of being used in an impulse radio positioning network in accordance with the present invention.

Claims

1. A method for tracking an object located on a farm, said method comprising the steps of:

2. The method of claim 1, wherein the object is a farm animal.

3. The method of claim 1, wherein the object is a farm employee.

4. The method of claim 1, wherein the object is a piece of farm equipment.

5. The method of claim 4, further comprising the step of using the determined position of the farm equipment to automatically operate the farm equipment.

6. The method of claim 5, further comprising the step of automatically steering the farm equipment along a crop line on the farm.

7. The method of claim 4, further comprising the step of using the determined position of the farm equipment to automatically control the farm equipment to distribute fertilizer.

8. The method of claim 4, further comprising the step of using the determined position of the farm equipment to automatically control the farm equipment to distribute seeds.

9. The method of claim 4, further comprising the step of using the determined position of the farm equipment to automatically control the farm equipment to distribute insecticide.

10. The method of claim 4, further comprising the step of using the determined position of the farm equipment to automatically control the farm equipment to irrigate the farm.

11. The method of claim 4, further comprising the step of coupling a controller to the ultra wideband impulse radio unit, wherein the controller interacts with a plurality of sensors that monitor at least one of the farm equipment.

12. A system for tracking an object located on a farm, said system comprising:

13. The system of claim 12, wherein the object is a farm animal.

14. The system of claim 12, wherein the object is a farm employee.

15. The system of claim 14, wherein the object is a piece of farm equipment.

16. The system of claim 15, wherein said central station knowing the position of the farm equipment is further capable of automatically operating the farm equipment.

17. The system of claim 16, wherein said central station is further capable of automatically steering the farm equipment along a crop line on the farm.

18. The system of claim 15, wherein said central station knowing the position of the farm equipment is further capable of automatically controlling the farm equipment to distribute fertilizer.

19. The system of claim 15, wherein said central station knowing the position of the farm equipment is further capable of automatically controlling the farm equipment to distribute seeds.

20. The system of claim 15, wherein said central station knowing the position of the farm equipment is further capable of automatically controlling the farm equipment to distribute insecticide.

21. The system of claim 15, wherein said central station knowing the position of the farm equipment is further capable of automatically controlling the farm equipment to irrigate the farm.

22. The system of claim 15, further comprising a controller, coupled to the ultra wideband impulse radio unit, capable of interacting with a plurality of sensors that monitor at least one parameter of the farm equipment.

23. An electronic monitor comprising:

24. The electronic monitor of claim 23, wherein the object is a farm employee.

25. The electronic monitor of claim 23, wherein the object is a farm animal.

26. The electronic monitor of claim 23, wherein the object is a piece of farm equipment.

27. The electronic monitor of claim 26, further comprising a controller, coupled to the ultra wideband impulse radio unit, capable of interacting with a plurality of sensors that monitor at least one parameter of the farm equipment.

28. The electronic monitor of claim 26, further comprising a display capable of displaying an overlay of the farm that indicates the position of the moving farm equipment and the at least one monitored parameter.

29. A method for tracking and monitoring a piece of farm equipment located on a farm, said method comprising the steps of:

30. The method of claim 29, wherein the information relating to the farm equipment includes at least one monitored parameter.

31. The method of claim 30, wherein said step of displaying further includes indicating an alarm whenever one of the at least one monitored parameters exceeds a predetermined threshold.

32. The method of claim 29, further comprising the step of using the determined position of the farm equipment to automatically control the farm equipment in accordance with an agronomic plan.

33. The method of claim 29, further comprising the step of monitoring soil conditions.

34. The method of claim 29, further comprising the step of monitoring crop conditions.

35. A system comprising:

36. The system of claim 35, wherein the information relating to the farm equipment includes at least one monitored parameter.

37. The system of claim 36, wherein said central station is further capable of indicating an alarm whenever one of the at least one monitored parameters exceeds a predetermined threshold.

38. The system of claim 35, wherein said central station knowing a position of the farm equipment is further capable of automatically controlling the farm equipment in accordance with an agronomic plan.

39. The system of claim 35, further comprising at least one sensor capable of monitoring soil conditions.

40. The system of claim 35, further comprising at least one sensor capable of monitoring crop conditions.

41. An electronic monitor comprising:

42. A method for managing a farm, said method comprising the steps of:

43. The method of claim 42, wherein said step of obtaining the farm related information includes:

44. The method of claim 42, wherein the object is a farm animal.

45. The method of claim 42, wherein the object is a farm employee.

46. The method of claim 42, wherein the object is a piece of farm equipment.

47. The method of claim 42, wherein said step of using the farm related information to increase the profitability of the farm includes:

48. The method of claim 47, wherein the piece of farm equipment can be automatically controlled to distribute fertilizer, seeds, water or insecticides.