Ardupilot and a big tractor

Hello everyone, I am a farmer - Nikolay from Ukraine. I looked at many projects and was admired by the capabilities of the ardupilot. My brother and I decided to create an autonomous tractor based on the UMZ-80. This tractor fell out even when Ukraine was part of the USSR, the tractor has a minimum of electronics.
It will not be easy but I think we can handle it.
Here + RTK will be responsible for the positioning accuracy, unfortunately I accidentally burned the antenna (I hope ProfyCNC will help me with the repair), but for now we decided to install the steering engine.
I am very excited because the test was successful. Now the tractor wheel can be rotated with the joystick.
Tomorrow we will try to install all the equipment in the tractor and try everything in motion.


Nice! I look forward to following your work.

Hi Kenny,
I’m glad you’re here. Before starting, I read all your posts here about your project, this is a terrific success story, I hope we will also achieve this result. I am going to apply your program from Github.

Today was the first test run. Now, no wires, control through telemetry. Everything worked out! Rejoiced like little children, emotions going wild over the edge. It’s just not likely to realize how a 4 ton machine is controlled by a joystick like a toy car.

The first serious stage is passed, then work on the autonomy of the system.

That is so exciting! I know I would be jumping for joy if I got it that far!

By the way, I chose Ardupilot because I don’t like the idea too much of a PC on the tractor running things. I prefer an embedded controller that is dedicated to the job. But, have you seen the AgOpenGPS project from Brian Tee? It is PC-based, but he has done some awesome work. His steering mechanism looks a lot like yours:

Yes, I am familiar with the Brian project. On the combine forum, I am under the nickname KolDon. With the help of members of the forum, I am trying to adapt Pixhawk to work with AgOpenGps.
Pixhawk already has all the necessary sensors for working with AgOpenGps; only the wheel position sensor needs it.
I studied at the university as a programmer but became a farmer, even though 20 years have passed since my studies, I still remember the principles of programming

1 Like

Very cool! I grew up on a farm, then went to Georgia Tech and majored in Electrical Engineering with a specialization in microprocessor based design. That was back in the late 70’s and early 80’s. It would be called embedded systems today. I have had nothing to do with farming since then until about 5 years ago when my wife and I bought a farm and turned it into a hay growing operation. I don’t have any other crops, just Bermuda grass hay.

I look forward to seeing what you are able to do!

First test drive


Thanks for sharing! I love it!

Finally came the gear motor, assembled and tested, rolled around the garden. The soil is very soft, but now there is enough strength, the steering wheel turns easily. There is a small problem with the alignment of the gears, but I hope we will cope with it.


The harvesting season is over and we can return to work on our tractor again. During this time, one unpleasant event occurred, I accidentally burned Pixhawk by not correctly connecting the servo. Now we have installed APM 2.8
With the new steering engine, the tractor is controlled simply by using the joystick. I tried to control the tractor with the help of the mission planner, but did not achieve the result. Missions are recorded in the APM but the tractor does not go on points. I also did not understand about Arm - DisArm whether it relates to the rover or only to quadrocopters. The Russian segment of the Internet is very poor in information about setting up the Rover.

I have a main channel on YouTube about a DIY combine that we have assembled with my brother. I shot a video about the beginning of the construction of an autonomous tractor, in a few days the video has already gained 17,000 views, I think soon the Ardupilot community will grow significantly.
The video is in Russian, but from 4.20 you can see how we installed the equipment on the tractor, and from 7.47 how the tractor is controlled.

1 Like

I just read this, please contact your reseller, and ask them to contact me, I am sure we can organise a replacement for the damaged parts, Definitely want to see a cube in this :slight_smile:

Can you please tell more about the setup?
Have you implemented automatic gearchange ?
Automatic raising and lowering equipment attached to the tractor?