Case studies

Simplifying precision agriculture with robust, affordable, and reliable GNSS

Seirrowon Labs harnesses u-blox positioning technology and location services to tackle the complexities and cost of autonomous farming. 

A green tractor pictured between two rows of trees with yellow leaves

Seirrowon Labs, a GNSS IoT and autonomy implementation company based in Austin, Texas, was looking to provide positioning solutions for the precision agriculture market that are reliable, easy to use, flexible, and cost-effective. However, existing autonomous agriculture offerings were poorly supported, had steep learning curves, and often imposed expensive RTK subscriptions and update/unlock fees.  

The SL series by Seirrowon Labs stands out as a complete high precision GNSS solution. It leverages the industry-leading performance of the u-blox F9 series of high precision GNSS receivers, PointPerfect GNSS correction service, and Seirrowon’s own patent-pending antenna improvements. This ruggedized high precision GNSS solution outperforms competitors in GNSS obstructed conditions like permanent crops (e.g., fruit trees and almond groves) and on field edges where trees obstruct the sky.   

Flexible and easy-to-use service plans are also key here.  Seirrowon harnessed the u-blox IoT service delivery platform to introduce FlatEarth, a monthly PPP-RTK correction data subscription available to purchase directly from devices with an internet connection, eliminating the need to call multiple people or use cumbersome M2M solutions. 

Typical RTK service providers only offer 3 and 12-month subscriptions, something farmers have never really liked. Farmers only need a solution for a couple of months in spring and a couple of months in fall. FlatEarth saves money as growers only activate and use it when they need it.  

Precise, reliable, easy to use, and affordable. Seirrowon Labs answers the specific challenges of autonomous farming in orchards and fixed crops using proven high precision positioning technology by u-blox. 

Connect with us today to find out more about this case study and our high precision GNSS product range.

Challenge #1: Most high precision GNSS receiver modules are complex, poorly supported, and come with massive learning curves. 

Seirrowon Labs, having over 20 years industry experience with robotic vehicle control, electronics hardware, and firmware development, was looking to provide better positioning solutions for the precision agriculture market.  

Seirrowon found only a handful of suppliers of ruggedized GNSS receivers for autonomous farming and agricultural solutions to choose from in the market. Unfortunately, those few also tend to be complex and expensive. There’s nothing more frustrating than having a product that’s complicated to use, difficult to set up, and requires input from multiple people to operate it. 

This challenge inspired Seirrowon to search for a solution that is more reliable, simple to use and maintain. 

Challenge #2: Existing RTK providers are overpriced, with high subscription costs and hidden hardware unlock fees. 

Seirrowon Labs wanted to provide growers with a more cost-effective solution. Deciding on a GNSS receiver hardware supplier is challenging enough, only to get nickel-and-dimed with hidden fees to unlock different hardware features, making it complicated and expensive to get what you need. 

Centimeter-level accuracy positioning requires an RTK GNSS correction service. These typically come with steep subscription fees and annual subscription periods, which pose a huge financial burden, particularly in agriculture. Growers only need a solution for a couple of months in spring and fall, during seeding and harvest seasons.

“Our company was founded on the principle that products should be robust and easy to use and support.” 

-Jason O’Flanagan, Co-Founder & CEO, Seirrowon Labs 

The solution: A highly accurate and cost-effective ruggedized solution that works out of the box 

Seirrowon Labs offers the SL series of high accuracy GNSS receivers, designed as a ruggedized auto guidance and autonomy solution for retrofit agriculture equipment as well as OEM. The SL series works out of the box to provide cost effective solutions to the current expensive market offerings.

u-blox provides Seirrowon with the best mix of core hardware technology for a ruggedized solution along with the location services that agriculture users have come to expect. Thorough documentation and expert support keep Seirrowon informed. Seirrowon capitalized on the multi-constellation performance of the F9 series high precision GNSS receivers (ZED-F9P) in combination with the sensor fusion receiver (ZED-F9R) and PointPerfect GNSS correction service with an L-band satellite receiver (NEO-D9S).  

The result was a superior solution that has better performance in GNSS obstructed conditions, without the complexity and hidden cost of performance unlocks and Auth-Codes. 

A close-up of Seirrowon's ruggedized white precision agriculture device, showing two ports and the Seirrowon logo.

Thingstream, the u-blox IoT service delivery cloud platform, enables Seirrowon Labs to provide flexible service plans to PointPerfect (branded as FlatEarth) without the need for a base station or reference network. FlatEarth allows you to purchase monthly subscriptions directly from the web interface with a phone or tablet.  

No more calling the dealer then waiting on activation. A farmer who needs it for only two months in spring and three months in fall can pay-as-you-go for only those months instead of the old typical overpriced subscription for an entire year. The FlatEarth service includes remote settings backups and remote performance monitoring. 

“We've simplified everything to make sure that you don't need a degree in GNSS or in engineering to be able to install the receiver. You can use any smartphone, laptop, or Wi-Fi device to set it up. There's no special software required, no special cables; you just connect as if it were a hotspot. It’s very straightforward.”

- Jason O’Flanagan, Co-Founder & CEO, Seirrowon Labs 

Solution benefits:  

  • Superior performance in adverse GNSS signal conditions, like almond groves and tree orchards 

  • Affordable, flexible service plans aimed at the farmer’s seasonal use case  

  • Easy to use, simple and straightforward to get started and get support 

Connect with us today to find out more about this case study and our high precision GNSS product range.

Outcome #1: Reliable positioning for the orchard and fixed row crop use case 

  • Track up to 85 satellites at a time (two channels each) in challenging sky conditions 

  • Sensor fusion fills in the gaps in GNSS adverse conditions, such as under dense foliage 

  • Fully unlocked hardware that is RTK-ready out of the box  

  • Uniform coverage on a continental scale without the need for base/rover setup 

  • Patent-pending antenna enables better performance in a smaller hardware footprint 

Outcome #2: Cost effective, flexible, and easy to use  

  • Monthly pay-as-you-go subscriptions, including support  

  • The flexibility for farmers to use the service during exactly the months they need it 

  • Saving hundreds of dollars over annual subscriptions fees, which can be over $1,000/yr. 

  • Self-service startup via the internet. No more calling the dealer then waiting on activation. 

  • Simple drop-in replacement for legacy solutions and ideal for OEM autonomous equipment  

The company's name, Seirrowon, is actually “no worries” spelled backwards. That is precisely O’Flanagan’s intention for precision agriculture and autonomous farming – to provide a robust and simple solution, at a better value for the grower, with no worries.