(19)
(11)EP 2 699 073 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
26.06.2019 Bulletin 2019/26

(21)Application number: 12705261.1

(22)Date of filing:  14.02.2012
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
A01B 69/04(2006.01)
G08G 99/00(2006.01)
A01B 69/00(2006.01)
G05D 1/02(2006.01)
A01B 79/00(2006.01)
(86)International application number:
PCT/EP2012/052508
(87)International publication number:
WO 2012/110508 (23.08.2012 Gazette  2012/34)

(54)

WIRELESS COMMUNICATION SYSTEM FOR AGRICULTURAL VEHICLES

KABELLOSES KOMMUNIKATIONSSYSTEM FÜR LANDWIRTSCHAFTLICHE MASCHINEN

SYSTÈME DE COMMUNICATION SANS FIL POUR VEHICULES AGRICOLES


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(30)Priority: 16.02.2011 IT TO20110133

(43)Date of publication of application:
26.02.2014 Bulletin 2014/09

(73)Proprietor: CNH Industrial Italia S.p.A.
10135 Torino (IT)

(72)Inventor:
  • Morselli, Ricccardo
    41057 Modena (IT)

(74)Representative: CNH Industrial IP Department 
CNH Belgium NV Patent Department Leon Claeysstraat 3A
8210 Zedelgem
8210 Zedelgem (BE)


(56)References cited: : 
EP-A1- 1 619 517
EP-A2- 1 874 002
US-A1- 2008 242 335
EP-A1- 2 132 972
US-A1- 2002 150 147
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description

    Field of the invention



    [0001] The present invention relates to a wireless communication system, a method of wireless communication between agricultural vehicles and an agricultural vehicle comprising a wireless communication system.

    Background of the invention



    [0002] It is not practical for a combine harvester to return to a grain storage location every time its grain tank is full. Instead, an unloading tractor is driven alongside the harvester and the grain is unloaded from its grain tank while both vehicles are moving. As there may be several harvesters operating near one another and several unloading tractors servicing them by ferrying the grain from the harvesters to the storage location, coordinating the movement of all these vehicles is a complex logistical exercise that can be better performed if the vehicles are able to communicate wirelessly with one another.

    [0003] The communication system between the vehicles needs to take the following requirements into account, namely :
    1. 1. The wireless communication performance must not be significantly affected by multiple vehicles in the same transmission area (e.g. bandwidth reduction due to multiple communications),
    2. 2. Detection (discovery) of the vehicles that may provide/request support. For example, a combine harvester may request to be unloaded, and a tractor may provide the unloading service.
    3. 3. The operators must not be constantly distracted and irritated by messages enquiring with which vehicle they would like to work. Instead the system should be as autonomous as possible in detecting which pair of vehicles may cooperate in a joint operation.
    4. 4. The communication bandwidth must not be significantly affected by multiple connection procedures between vehicles moving in and out of the transmission/reception area.


    [0004] US 7,555,283, which is believed to represent the closest prior art to the present invention, is directed to a communication system for mobile and stationary devices, which act as receivers and sources of information, respectively, comprising at least one transmitter/receiver unit provided for the mobile and stationary devices and having a defined transmission/reception range, and also formed so that at least partial overlap of the transmission/reception ranges of the mobile and/or stationary devices results in accidental communication between the mobile and/or stationary devices, and this accidental communication changes to a targeted communication, wherein communication comprises a direct exchange of information between the sources and receivers and the communication system is formed so that during the accidental communication, an application context between the communicating mobile and/or stationary devices is credit (SIC) and, if an application context of this type is not present, the accidental communication is terminated.

    [0005] The latter patent classifies individual communications between two devices as "accidental" and "targeted". An accidental communication is one between two devices that may or may not be intending to cooperate with one another. If the exchanged data meets certain criteria defined by an "application" then an accidental communication changes into a targeted communication. The unloading of harvesters is given as one example of an "application" and in this example, once a targeted communication is commenced, the unloading tractor is controlled by the harvester.

    [0006] Of the four requirements set forth above, the communication system of US 7,555,283 meets those numbered 2 and 3, but it suffers from the disadvantage of overloading the available bandwidth. The resultant risk of interference makes it unsafe to have several targeted communications taking place simultaneously on the same communication channel.

    [0007] Further, US 2008/242 335 discloses a communication system for mobile and stationary devices having at least one transmitter/receiver unit provided for the mobile and stationary devices and covering a defined transmission/reception range, and is formed so that at least partial overlap of the transmission/reception ranges of the mobile and/or stationary devices result in accidental communication between the mobile and/or stationary devices, and this accidental communication changes to a targeted communication.

    Summary of the invention



    [0008] According to a first aspect of the present invention, there is provided a wireless communication system according to claim 1.

    [0009] In accordance with a second aspect of the invention, there is provided a method of wireless communication between agricultural vehicles, according to claim 7.

    [0010] In accordance with a third aspect of the invention, there is provided an agricultural vehicle according to claim 12.

    [0011] In the invention, the general broadcast channel on which vehicle identifiers and positional data are transmitted is not used as a control channel once a joint operation has been commenced. Interference during a joint operation is thus minimised and the general broadcast channel is kept clear for other vehicles using the communication system. The invention thus better meets the requirements numbered 1 and 4 above. In the communication system of US 7,555,283, the vehicle operators have no control over when an accidental communication becomes a targeted communication. For example, in one application, the "application" is intended to avoid collisions and can activate the braking system of a vehicle without driver intervention.

    [0012] In the preferred embodiment of the invention, when and only when, two vehicles are ready to perform a joint operation the operators of both vehicles receive notifications from the wireless communication system, and the joint operation is commenced only after receipt of an instruction from at least one of the two vehicle operators.

    [0013] In the preferred embodiment of the invention, initiation of a joint operation requires operator intervention and control of the unloading tractor, for example, cannot be taken away from its operator without authorisation.

    [0014] The preferred embodiment of the invention meets the third requirement above because the operator is not constantly troubled by signals informing him what other vehicles in the vicinity are doing. The only time that the operator is alerted is when a joint operation is about to be commenced whereupon his instructions are requested before the joint operation commences.

    [0015] Advantageously, to minimise further the number of signals on the broadcast channel, each vehicle only transmits its identifier and positional coordinates when it is ready to perform a joint operation with another vehicle. Thus, for example, a harvester will only transmit on the broadcast channel when its grain tank is full and a tractor will only transmit when a signal on the broadcast channel it has unloading capacity for a harvester.

    [0016] As an alternative, each vehicle may transmit at all times but the transmitter signal may indicate the current vehicle status, that it to say whether or nor it is available to perform a joint operation within another vehicle.

    [0017] For an unloading tractor and a harvester to cooperate, they need to be travelling at the same velocity (i.e. direction and speed). It is therefore preferred for each vehicle to transmit velocity data in addition to positional data. Though this is not essential, because both speed and direction can be computed from the position coordinates, transmitting velocity data reduces the amount of processing that needs to be performed by the signal processors and the provides more current and more accurate velocity information.

    [0018] The invention has been described above by reference to the example of the joint operation being the unloading of a harvester. This need not however be the case and the invention can relate to any jointly performed operation where data needs to be exchanged between two vehicles regarding the operation being performed jointly, within the limitations as provided by the appended claims.

    Brief description of the drawings



    [0019] The invention will now be described further, by way of example, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

    Figure 1 is a schematic representation showing an unloading tractor travelling with an acceptable velocity and correctly located relative to a harvester to commence an unloading operation;

    Figures 2 and 3 are flow charts setting out the steps and decisions performed by the signal processors of the unloading tractor and the harvester, respectively;

    Figure 4A is a first example of a service table;

    Figure 4B is a second example of a service table comprising a preferred channel; and

    Figure 4C is a third example of a service table comprising also a further preferred channel.


    Detailed description of the preferred embodiment



    [0020] Figure 1 shows a harvester 10 travelling with velocity V1 and a tractor 12 towing an unloading trailer 14 travelling with a velocity V2. Provided that velocities V1 and V2 lie within a specified range from one another (i.e. any speed and direction differences are within specified limits) and the tractor is travelling within a predetermined service zone 16 relative to the harvester, shown in Figure 1 as a large triangle, then a joint operation of unloading the harvester may be commenced. Under any other conditions, i.e. if the speeds or directions differ too greatly or if the tractor is not in the correct position relative to the harvester then the joint operation cannot be commenced.

    [0021] In the present invention, each of the harvester 10 and the tractor 12 has a Tx/Rx module connected to a signal processor which is also connected to a GPS system.

    [0022] At least while the harvester needs unloading and the tractor 12 has unloading capacity on board its trailer 14, they each transmit a signal on a general broadcast channel which identifies the vehicle and indicates its GPS coordinated (longitude and latitude). The transmitted signals may also include an indication of the velocity of the vehicle and its current status. The signal processors analyse received signals and determine if the conditions represented in Figure 1 are satisfied.

    [0023] At this time, the operators of both vehicle are notified that the two vehicles are in position for a joint operation to be commenced. When at least one (and more preferably both) of the operators confirms that the joint operation may be commenced, the two Tx/Rx switch to an agreed different channel that is now used to send control signals from the harvester to the tractor. This allows the harvester to steer and control the speed of the tractor so that unloading can be carried out safely.

    [0024] The agreed different channel is first verified that it is free of any communication and when occupied a further different channel is selected or negotiated.

    [0025] On completion of the unloading, control of the tractor is returned to the tractor operator who may then service another harvester or return to a grain storage location if the full capacity of its trailer is exhausted. In the mean time both vehicles start listening to the general broadcast channel again. However, both vehicles may also continuously listen to the general broadcast channel, also during the joint operation.

    [0026] The flow charts of Figures 2 and 3 show the steps implemented in software in the signal processors of the tractor 12 and the harvester 10, respectively.

    [0027] Referring first to Figure 2, following the start 100 of the program, a check is made in decision step 102 to determine the current status of the tractor, i.e. if it has capacity to service a harvester. The status can be determined either by a signal from the operator or by a sensor on the trailer.

    [0028] Assuming that it is available to perform an unloading operation, in step 104 the tractor transmits a signal on the general broadcast channel and listens for the corresponding signals from other vehicles in the vicinity. The signals contain a vehicle identifier and position data and may also contain velocity and status information.

    [0029] In step 106, the processor determines if any other vehicles are in the communication range and goes on listening to the general broadcast channel by returning to step 104 until a vehicle comes within range.

    [0030] Each signal processor includes a service table in which all the vehicle identifiers are stored together with other information on the vehicles that may be relevant when performing a joint operation. Figures 4 A, B and C show a representation of such service table. All service tables comprise identifiers for vehicles that may engage in a joint operation, as in Fig 4A. From this data, the processor can determine in step 108 if the other vehicle is a service requester. Signals from non-requesting vehicles are disregarded but when a signal is received from a harvester then the process continues to step 110 in which it is determined if the headings of the two vehicles are within an allowed range of each other. The velocity of the other vehicle can either be computed from its present and past position data or it may be transmitted by the other vehicle in addition to its identifier and position coordinates.

    [0031] Once it has been established that the vehicles are travelling in the right direction, it is determined in step 112 if the tractor is in the zone 16 relative to the harvester. If any one of the conditions in decision steps 106 to 112 is not satisfied, the program returns to step 104 and listens out for a vehicle that does meet these conditions.

    [0032] When eventually the tractor 12 is in the position shown in Figure 1 and all the conditions of steps 106 to 112 are satisfied, the two processors agree in step 114 on a different control channel and indicate to their respective operators that the vehicles are ready to commence a joint operation.

    [0033] In step 116, the processor waits for at least one of the two operators to give the go ahead for the joint operation to commence. When this happens in step 118, both processors switch to the agreed other communication channel and automatic control of the tractor by the harvester is carried out over this channel. After completion, which may be indicated either by one of the operators or a sensor, the automatic control of the tractor is discontinued and a new cycle is commenced by returning to the start 100.

    [0034] When the agreed other communication channel is occupied by other vehicles a switch to a further other communication channel is made. The service table may comprise information on a preferred other communication channel between certain vehicle combinations and may even comprise information on further preferred communication channels, as in Figures 4B and 4C. When also said preferred channels are occupied or there is no list of preferred channels, the vehicles may negotiate another communication channel on the general broadcast channel.

    [0035] The operation of the processor in the harvester is essentially analogous and for ease of understanding similar references have been allocated to the various steps, save that 100 has been added to each reference numeral.

    [0036] Hence, referring to Figure 3, following the start 200 of the program, a check is made in decision step 202 to determine the current status of the harvester, i.e. is its grain tank approaching full capacity. The status can be determined either by a signal from the operator or by a sensor in the grain tank.

    [0037] Assuming that the harvester requires servicing an unloading operation, in step 204 the harvester transmits a signal on the general broadcast channel and listens for the corresponding signals from other vehicles in the vicinity.

    [0038] In step 206, the processor determines if any other vehicles are in the communication range and goes on listening to the general broadcast channel by returning to step 204 until a vehicle comes within range.

    [0039] The processor determines in step 208 from its stored table if the other vehicle is a service provider. Signals from vehicles that are not service providers are disregarded but when a signal is received from an unloading tractor then the process continues to step 210 in which it is determined if the headings of the two vehicles are within an allowed range of each other.

    [0040] Once it has been established that the vehicles are travelling in the right direction, it is determined in step 212 if the tractor is in the zone 16 relative to the harvester. If any one of the conditions in decision steps 206 to 212 is not satisfied, the program returns to step 204 and listens out for a vehicle that does meet these conditions.

    [0041] When eventually the tractor 12 is in the position shown in Figure 1 and all the conditions of steps 206 to 212 are satisfied, the two processors agree in step 214 on a different control channel and indicate to their respect operators that the vehicles are ready to commence a joint operation.

    [0042] In step 216, the processor waits for at least one of the two operators to give the go ahead for the joint operation to commence. When this happens in step 218, both processors switch to the agreed other communication channel and automatic control of the tractor by the harvester is carried out over this channel. After completion, which may be indicated either by one of the operators or a sensor, the automatic control of the tractor is discontinued and a new cycle is commenced by returning to the start 200.

    [0043] When the agreed other communication channel is occupied by other vehicles a switch to a further other communication channel is made. The service table may comprise information on a preferred other communication channel between certain vehicle combinations and may even comprise information on further preferred communication channels, as in Figures 4B and 4C. When also said preferred channels are occupied or there is no list of preferred channels, the vehicles may negotiate another communication channel on the general broadcast channel.

    [0044] The radio communications between vehicles all take place in the background and do not affect the vehicle operators. The operators may separately communicate with one another in any suitable manner to indicate that a service is requested. For example, they may communicate with one another by radio, by light signal or by the harvester extending its unloading arm. The tractor operator answering the service call will then manoeuvre into position of the joint operation and once the tractor is approximately in the correct place and travelling in the right direction, the communication system will indicate to the operators that a joint operation may be commenced and thereafter a single command from one of the operators is all that is required for the joint operation of unloading the grain tank of the harvester to take place automatically.


    Claims

    1. A wireless communication system for coordinating the movement of a plurality of agricultural vehicles, each vehicle (10,12) comprising a global positioning system (GPS), a multi-channel transmitter/ receiver (Tx/Rx) module having a limited communication range, and a signal processor connected to the multi-channel transmitter/ receiver Tx/RX module, wherein:

    - the transmitter being controlled by the signal processor and operable to transmit on a predetermined communication channel a signal comprising, at least, a unique vehicle identifier and a signal indicating the current positional co-ordinates of the vehicle, and

    - the signal processor is operable to

    - analyse the signals received from other vehicles within the communication range, and

    - determine from the unique vehicle identifier and the positional coordinates data when another vehicle is ready to perform a joint operation with the vehicle, wherein the communication system is switched to a different communication channel prior to initiation of a joint operation, characterised in that the signal processor includes a service table in which the unique vehicle identifiers of vehicles that may engage in a joint operation are stored together with other relevant information on the vehicles for performing the joint operation, wherein the signal processor determines that the vehicle is ready to perform the joint operation with the other vehicle when the unique vehicle identifier is included in the service table and speed and direction differences are within specified limits.


     
    2. A communication system as claimed in claim 1, wherein when two vehicles are ready to perform a joint operation, the operators of both vehicles receive notifications from the wireless communication system, and the joint operation is commenced only after receipt of an instruction from at least one of the two vehicle operators.
     
    3. A communication system as claimed in claim 1 or 2, wherein each vehicle only transmits its identifier and positional coordinates when it is ready to perform a joint operation with another vehicle.
     
    4. A communication system as claimed in claim 1 or 2, wherein each vehicle transmits at all times and the transmitted signal includes an indication of the current vehicle status.
     
    5. A communication system as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein each vehicle is operable to transmit velocity data in addition to positional data.
     
    6. A communication system as in claim 1, wherein the service table further comprises preferred communication channels.
     
    7. A method of wireless communication between agricultural vehicles, wherein each vehicle (10,12) comprising a global positioning system (GPS), a multi-channel transmitter/ receiver (Tx/Rx) module having a limited communication range, and a signal processor connected to the Tx/RX module, wherein the signal processor includes a service table in which the unique vehicle identifiers of vehicles that may engage in a joint operation are stored together with other relevant information on the vehicles for performing the joint operation, the method comprising the steps of:

    - transmitting from each vehicle on a predetermined communication channel a signal that includes, at least, a unique vehicle identifier and a signal indicating the current positional co-ordinates of the vehicle, and

    - analysing the signals received from other vehicles within the communication range, and

    - determining from the unique vehicle identifier and the positional coordinates data when another vehicle is ready to perform a joint operation with the vehicle, and to switch to another communication channel prior to initiation of a joint operation, wherein the determining that the vehicle is ready to perform the joint operation with the other vehicle is done when the unique identifier is included in a service table and speed and direction differences are within specified limits.


     
    8. A method as claimed in claim 7, further comprising the steps of:

    - sending notifications from the wireless communication system to the operators of both vehicles when and only when two vehicles are ready to perform a joint operation, and

    - commencing the joint operation only after receipt of an instruction from at least one of the two vehicle operators.


     
    9. A method as claimed in claim 7 or 8, wherein each vehicle only transmits its identifier and positional coordinates when it is ready to perform a joint operation with another vehicle.
     
    10. A method as claimed in claim 7 or 8, wherein each vehicle transmits at all times and the transmitted signal includes an indication of the current vehicle status.
     
    11. A method as claimed in any of claims 7 to 10, wherein each vehicle is operable to transmit velocity data in addition to positional data.
     
    12. An agricultural vehicle comprising a wireless communication system according to one of claims 1-6.
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Kabelloses Kommunikationssystem zum Koordinieren der Bewegung einer Mehrzahl von landwirtschaftlichen Fahrzeugen, wobei jedes Fahrzeug (10, 12) ein globales Positionsbestimmungssystem (GPS), ein mehrkanaliges Sender-/Empfänger-Modul (Tx/Rx) mit einer begrenzten Kommunikationsreichweite, und eine Signalverarbeitungseinrichtung umfasst, die mit dem mehrkanaligen Sender-/Empfänger-Modul (Tx/Rx) verbunden ist, wobei:

    - der Sender durch die Signalverarbeitungseinrichtung gesteuert wird und betreibbar ist, um auf einem vorbestimmten Kommunikationskanal ein Signal zu übertragen, das zumindest eine eindeutige Fahrzeugbezeichnung und ein Signal umfasst, das die momentanen Positionskoordinaten des Fahrzeugs angibt; und

    - die Signalverarbeitungseinrichtung betreibbar ist, um

    - die Signale zu analysieren, die von anderen Fahrzeugen innerhalb der Kommunikationsreichweite empfangen werden, und

    - aus der eindeutigen Fahrzeugbezeichnung und den Positionskoordinatendaten zu bestimmen, wann ein anderes Fahrzeug bereit ist, eine gemeinsame Tätigkeit mit dem Fahrzeug auszuüben, wobei das Kommunikationssystem vor dem Beginnen einer gemeinsamen Tätigkeit auf einen anderen Kommunikationskanal geschaltet wird, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass die Signalverarbeitungseinrichtung einen Dienstplan umfasst, in dem die eindeutigen Fahrzeugbezeichnungen der Fahrzeuge, die sich an einer gemeinsamen Tätigkeit beteiligen können, zusammen mit anderen relevanten Informationen zu den Fahrzeugen zum Ausführen der gemeinsamen Tätigkeit gespeichert sind,
    wobei die Signalverarbeitungseinrichtung bestimmt, dass ein Fahrzeug zum Ausführen der gemeinsamen Tätigkeit mit dem anderen Fahrzeug bereit ist, wenn die eindeutige Fahrzeugbezeichnung in dem Dienstplan enthalten ist und Geschwindigkeits- und Richtungsunterschiede sich innerhalb bestimmter Grenzen befinden.


     
    2. Kommunikationssystem nach Anspruch 1, wobei die Bediener beider Fahrzeuge Benachrichtigungen von dem kabellosen Kommunikationssystem erhalten, wenn zwei Fahrzeuge bereit sind, eine gemeinsame Tätigkeit auszuführen, und die gemeinsame Tätigkeit nur nach dem Empfang einer Anweisung von zumindest einem der beiden Fahrzeugbediener begonnen wird.
     
    3. Kommunikationssystem nach Anspruch 1 oder 2, wobei jedes Fahrzeug seine Bezeichnung und Positionskoordinaten nur überträgt, wenn es zum Ausführen einer gemeinsamen Tätigkeit mit einem anderen Fahrzeug bereit ist.
     
    4. Kommunikationssystem nach Anspruch 1 oder 2, wobei jedes Fahrzeug jederzeit sendet und die übertragenen Signale eine Angabe des momentanen Fahrzeugstatus umfassen.
     
    5. Kommunikationssystem nach einem der vorangehenden Ansprüche, wobei jedes Fahrzeug betreibbar ist, um zusätzlich zu den Positionsdaten Geschwindigkeitsdaten zu übertagen.
     
    6. Kommunikationssystem nach Anspruch 1, wobei der Dienstplan weiterhin bevorzugte Kommunikationskanäle umfasst.
     
    7. Verfahren zur kabellosen Kommunikation zwischen landwirtschaftlichen Fahrzeugen, wobei jedes Fahrzeug (10, 12) ein globales Positionsbestimmungssystem (GPS), ein mehrkanaliges Sender-/Empfänger-Modul (Tx/Rx) mit einer begrenzten Kommunikationsreichweite, und eine Signalverarbeitungseinrichtung umfasst, die mit dem Tx/Rx-Modul verbunden ist, wobei die Signalverarbeitungseinrichtung einen Dienstplan umfasst, in dem eindeutige Fahrzeugbezeichnungen der Fahrzeuge, die sich an einer gemeinsamen Tätigkeit beteiligen können, zusammen mit anderen relevanten Informationen zu den Fahrzeugen zum Ausführen der gemeinsamen Tätigkeit gespeichert sind, wobei das Verfahren die Schritte umfasst:

    - Senden eines Signals, das zumindest eine eindeutige Fahrzeugbezeichnung umfasst, und eines Signals, das die momentanen Positionskoordinaten des Fahrzeugs angibt, von jedem Fahrzeug auf einem vorbestimmten Kommunikationskanal, und

    - Analysieren der Signale, die von anderen Fahrzeugen innerhalb der Kommunikationsreichweite empfangen werden, und

    - Bestimmen aus den eindeutigen Fahrzeugbezeichnungen und den Positionskoordinatendaten, wenn ein anderes Fahrzeug zum Ausführen einer gemeinsamen Tätigkeit mit dem Fahrzeug bereit ist und Wechseln auf einen anderen Kommunikationskanal vor dem Beginnen einer gemeinsamen Tätigkeit, wobei das Bestimmen, dass das Fahrzeug bereit ist, die gemeinsame Tätigkeit mit dem anderen Fahrzeug auszuführen, erfolgt, wenn die eindeutige Bezeichnung in einem Dienstplan enthalten ist und sich Geschwindigkeits- und Richtungsunterschiede innerhalb bestimmter Grenzen befinden.


     
    8. Verfahren nach Anspruch 7, weiterhin umfassend die Schritte:

    - Senden von Benachrichtigungen von dem kabellosen Kommunikationssystem an die Bediener beider Fahrzeuge, wenn und nur wenn zwei Fahrzeuge bereit sind, eine gemeinsame Tätigkeit auszuführen, und

    - Beginnen der gemeinsamen Tätigkeit nur nach dem Empfang einer Anweisung von zumindest einem der zwei Fahrzeugbediener.


     
    9. Verfahren nach Anspruch 7 oder 8, wobei jedes Fahrzeug seine Bezeichnung und Positionskoordinaten nur sendet, wenn es bereit ist, eine gemeinsame Tätigkeit mit einem anderen Fahrzeug auszuführen.
     
    10. Verfahren nach Anspruch 7 oder 8, wobei jedes Fahrzeug jederzeit sendet und die übermittelten Signale eine Angabe des momentanen Fahrzeugstatus umfassen.
     
    11. Verfahren nach einem der Ansprüche 7 bis 10, wobei jedes Fahrzeug betreibbar ist, um zusätzlich zu den Positionsdaten Geschwindigkeitsdaten zu übertragen.
     
    12. Landwirtschaftliches Fahrzeug mit einem kabellosen Kommunikationssystem nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 6.
     


    Revendications

    1. Système de communication sans fil pour coordonner le mouvement d'une pluralité de véhicules agricoles, chaque véhicule (10, 12) comprenant un système de positionnement mondial (global positioning system GPS), un module émetteur/récepteur à canaux multiples (Tx/Rx) possédant une plage de communication limitée et un processeur de signaux connecté au module émetteur/récepteur à canaux multiples Tx/Rx :

    - l'émetteur étant commandé par le processeur de signaux et permettant de transmettre, sur un canal de communication prédéterminé, un signal comprenant, au moins, un identifiant unique de véhicule et un signal indiquant les coordonnées de position actuelles du véhicule et

    - le processeur de signaux permettant :

    - d'analyser les signaux reçus provenant d'autres véhicules dans la plage de communication et

    - de déterminer, à partir de l'identifiant unique du véhicule et des données de coordonnées de position, si un autre véhicule est prêt à effectuer une opération conjointe avec le véhicule, le système de communication étant commuté sur un canal de communication différent avant d'initier une opération conjointe, caractérisé en ce que le processeur de signaux comprend une table de services dans laquelle les identifiants uniques des véhicules qui peuvent participer à une opération conjointe sont enregistrés conjointement avec d'autres informations pertinentes sur les véhicules pour réaliser l'opération conjointe,
    dans lequel le processeur de signaux détermine que le véhicule est prêt à effectuer l'opération conjointe avec l'autre véhicule lorsque l'identifiant unique du véhicule est inclus dans la table de services et que les différences de vitesse et de direction se situent dans des limites spécifiées.


     
    2. Système de communication selon la revendication 1, dans lequel les opérateurs des deux véhicules reçoivent, lorsque deux véhicules sont prêts à effectuer une opération conjointe, des notifications provenant du système de communication sans fil et l'opération conjointe n'étant débutée qu'après la réception d'une instruction provenant d'au moins l'un des deux opérateurs de véhicule.
     
    3. Système de communication selon la revendication 1 ou 2, dans lequel chaque véhicule ne transmet son identifiant et ses coordonnées de position que lorsqu'il est prêt à effectuer une opération conjointe avec un autre véhicule.
     
    4. Système de communication selon la revendication 1 ou 2, dans lequel chaque véhicule transmet à tout moment et le signal transmis incluant une indication du statut actuel du véhicule.
     
    5. Système de communication selon l'une quelconque revendication précédente, dans lequel chaque véhicule permet de transmettre des données de vitesse en plus des données de position.
     
    6. Système de communication selon la revendication 1, dans lequel la table de services comprend en outre des canaux de communication préférés.
     
    7. Procédé de communication sans fil entre des véhicules agricoles, dans lequel chaque véhicule (10, 12) comprend un système de positionnement mondial (GPS), un module émetteur/récepteur à canaux multiples (Tx/Rx) possédant une plage de communication limitée et un processeur de signaux connecté au module Tx/Rx, dans lequel le processeur de signaux comprend une table de services dans laquelle les identifiants uniques de véhicules qui peuvent participer à une opération conjointe sont enregistrés conjointement avec d'autres informations pertinentes sur les véhicules pour effectuer l'opération conjointe,
    le procédé comprenant les étapes :

    - de transmission, depuis chaque véhicule, sur un canal de communication prédéterminé, d'un signal qui inclut, au moins, un identifiant unique de véhicule et un signal indiquant les coordonnées de position actuelles du véhicule et

    - d'analyse des signaux reçus depuis d'autres véhicules dans la plage de communication et

    - de détermination, à partir de l'identifiant unique du véhicule et des données de coordonnées de position, du moment où un autre véhicule est prêt à effectuer une opération conjointe avec le véhicule et à commuter sur un autre canal de communication avant l'initiation d'une opération conjointe, dans lequel la détermination du fait que le véhicule est prêt à effectuer l'opération conjointe avec l'autre véhicule est réalisée lorsque l'identifiant unique est inclus dans une table de services et que les différences de vitesse et de direction se situent dans des limites spécifiées.


     
    8. Procédé selon la revendication 7, comprenant en outre les étapes :

    - d'envoi de notifications, depuis le système de communication sans fil, aux opérateurs des deux véhicules lorsque et uniquement lorsque deux véhicules sont prêts à effectuer une opération conjointe, et

    - de démarrage de l'opération conjointe uniquement après réception d'une instruction provenant d'au moins l'un des deux opérateurs de véhicules.


     
    9. Procédé selon la revendication 7 ou 8, dans lequel chaque véhicule ne transmet son identifiant et ses coordonnées de position que lorsqu'il est prêt à effectuer une opération conjointe avec un autre véhicule.
     
    10. Procédé selon la revendication 7 ou 8, dans lequel chaque véhicule transmet à tout moment et le signal transmis incluant une indication du statut actuel du véhicule.
     
    11. Procédé selon l'une quelconque des revendications 7 à 10, dans lequel chaque véhicule permet de transmettre des données de vitesse en plus des données de position.
     
    12. Véhicule agricole comprenant un système de communication sans fil selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1-6.
     




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    Cited references

    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



    This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

    Patent documents cited in the description