Guidance and Control (AutoTrac)

The following are the AMS products that assist with machine guidance and control. To learn more about these products, see John Deere's Guidance and Control page.



AutoTrac uses satellite positioning and differential correction to steer equipment automatically. This increases efficiency and reduces operator fatigue. AutoTrac activation comes with SF1 (+/- 9 in. accuracy). Upgrades are available to SF2 (+/- 2 in.) and RTK (+/- 1 in.). Activations are available for 3, 6, 12, 24 and 36 months. New activations tack on to the end of previous activations.

Equipment Compatibility and Requirements
1. Display: All current displays can support AutoTrac (including the GS 2 1800).
2. StarFire Receiver: The current StarFire 3000 and the previous iTC Receiver can support AutoTrac.
3. Steering kit: Any vehicle with a steering wheel can be fitted for AutoTrac. Most newer model John Deere equipment comes with an “Integrated Steering kit” that produces maximum precision. Alternatively, an “AutoTrac Controller” or “AutoTrac Universal kit” can be installed on older John Deere or non-John Deere equipment that doesn’t have a built-in Integrated Steering kit.

Guidance Modes
The normal guidance mode is a straight line ("straight track"). AutoTrac can also guide in curves, boxes, spirals and circles, as shown below.

Simple curve S-curve
Boxed Racetrack
Spiral Circle

Adaptive curves vary their curvature from pass to pass. The curvature of the line changes down the field.
These are useful for maneuvering around obstacles and otherwise adjusting to different curvatures in a field.
A/B curves, on the other hand, keep the same curvature for each line at all corresponding points.

AutoTrac can also create "Tramlines." Tramlines are guidance lines that are meant to be remembered from year to year so that you can position your rows in the same spot.

AutoTrac can easily swap between guidance modes. For example, use Adaptive Curve mode on one pass, and swap to A/B Curve mode for the following adjacent pass.

These things affect the accuracy of AutoTrac: satellite signal accuracy (SF1, SF2, RTK), type of steering kit (Integrated Steering is more accurate), tracking mode, curvature (tighter curves can reduce accuracy), and field and soil conditions.

RTK Correction
The SF1 and SF2 signals receive differential correction (adjustments that improve accuracy) from ground-based reference stations located sparsely throughout the world. There are two reference stations in California, and about 15 across the United States. RTK, on the other hand, receives differential correction from local, dealer-operated RTK towers that send radio signals to RTK radios attached to the StarFire Receiver. RTK accuracy is guaranteed only to a radius of 12 miles from an RTK tower. Fresno Equipment has 6 RTK towers located here.

RTK accuracy requires line of sight communication between the radio attached to the StarFire Receiver and the dealer-operated RTK tower. John Deere’s StarFire network utilizes “RTK Extend,” which keeps an RTK signal active for up to 15 minutes after a break in line of sight. Accuracy automatically switches to SF2 after 15 minutes without a connection and automatically switches back to RTK when a connection is restored. Repeaters are available to provide line of sight around hilly terrain or dense foliage. (Repeaters cannot repeat each other, and cannot extend a signal beyond the 12 mile radius.)

 iTEC Pro

iTEC Pro automatically steers a tractor to accurately position it for the next pass. This takes into account machine size, implement size, and the length of any header. iTEC Pro also automates end-of-row sequences. It requires an AutoTrac activation and GS 2 or GS 3 Display.

Machine Sync

Machine Sync has two primary functions: it allows machines to (1) share coverage maps and (2) coordinate positions.

Sharing Coverage Maps
This allows multiple machines to cover the same field without overlap or skipped rows. As in the picture above on the right, each machine has its own color pass (blue, light blue), so each machine knows which rows have been covered. This is especially helpful at night.

Coordinate Positions
Machine Sync enables two machines to move in tandem using AutoTrac levels of accuracy, as in the above middle picture. One machine sets a homing position for the other to follow. This position can be adjusted so the second machine moves forward or backward (when the back of the grain cart is full, you can shift to cart forward relative to the Combine to fill the front of the cart, etc.). This is mostly used with Combines and grain carts. One grain cart can sync with multiple Combines as they all harvest a field. Machine Sync requires AutoTrac, a display and a receiver for each machine.

Active Implement Guidance


Active Implement Guidance allows AutoTrac to guide an implement itself, instead of guiding only the tractor that pulls it. This reduces inaccuracy caused by uneven terrain. It requires two StarFire receivers, AutoTrac with SF2 or RTK level accuracy, and hydraulic steering on the implement.