The AgriRover : a mechatronic platform from space robotics for precision farming

Yan, Xiu and Bianco, Alessandro and Post, Mark and NIU, Cong and Palazzetti, Roberto and Melville, Craig and Kisdi, Aron and Tubby, Wayne (2018) The AgriRover : a mechatronic platform from space robotics for precision farming. In: Reinventing Mechatronics. University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, pp. 112-119. ISBN 978-1-909522-37-4

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Abstract

This paper reports an investigation of a novel development by spinning off space robotic technologies into agriculture and dissemination of the findings of AgriRover project, which is the first of its kind in exploiting and applying space robotic technologies in precision farming. To measure energy performance of mobile platform, a new dynamic total cost of transport is proposed and validated. An autonomous navigation system based on a rover control architecture has been developed to enable the AgriRover to traverse safely in unstructured farming environments. A novel and agriculture- specific object recognition algorithm has been investigated and implemented to enable higher degree of intelligence based on more smart data processing capability. A novel soil sample collecting mechanism has been designed and prototyped for onboard and in-situ soil quality measurement. The design of the whole system has benefited from the use of a mechatronic design process known as the Tiv model through which a planetary rover is reinvented into the AgriRover for agricultural applications. The AgriRover system has gone through three field trials in the UK and China and some of these results are reported.