classic | mobile



Manoeuvring agricultural robots with 2D laser scanners
Third Quarter 2019, Robotics & Mechatronics

How can we harness modern technology in a way that will allow people to collaborate with business even more intelligently, efficiently and sustainably in the future? The solution is 2D laser scanners on robots. SICK has applied 2D laser scanners to crop robots in order to assist a scientific project at Wageningen University and Research Centre.

How do you navigate agricultural robots through a field? The major challenge of this application can be found not only in the wide variety of crops out there, but also in the fact that crop rows are neither completely straight nor all the same width. Now, Wageningen University and Research Centre has developed a solution that uses SICK Automation’s LMS111 2D laser scanner.

Precision agriculture

Precision agriculture is on the rise but what does it mean? It is a practice that marks a move away from the model of subjecting every field to a standard treatment and instead takes a semi-tailored approach that considers the requirements of each crop. Custom sowing, fertilisation, pesticide application and disease control have the potential to not only save money, but also reduce the impact on the environment.

However, the more efficient benefits that precision agriculture brings are unfortunately not yet enough to outweigh the performance of the large, fast farm machinery that saves significant quantities of manpower.

Recently, however, a solution to this problem has been introduced in the form of small agricultural robots that are able to work in fields 24 hours a day, slowing down or stopping as the situation demands, and operating almost entirely without human input.

Navigation without GPS

A good navigation system is one of the fundamental requirements for using agricultural robots successfully. The system must be able to account for deviations in the shape and size of crops, crooked rows of differing widths, as well as other irregularities.

Standard GPS systems are not up to the job. For this reason, the Wageningen University and Research Centre developed a navigation process in which robots would be guided not by a GPS function, but instead by an LMS111 2D laser scanner from SICK Automation.

The LMS111 2D laser scanners collect raw data and then filter the information needed out of this. A whole range of practical tests were performed during the growing season to check whether the system was functioning as it should. The results proved that it is indeed a reliable solution for navigating crop areas cultivated using conventional methods.

Summing up, Dr Frits van Evert from Wageningen University and Research Centre states: “We have invested a great deal of time and energy in this project. Just recently, our efforts put us in a position to publish our findings in a leading scientific journal. I would therefore like to express my sincere thanks to SICK for providing us with the laser scanner for our research.”

For more information contact Mark Madeley, SICK Automation Southern Africa, +27 10 060 0550,,

Supplied By: SICK Automation Southern Africa
Tel: +27 10 060 0550
Fax: 086 598 7915
Share via email     Print this page  

Further reading:

  • Underwater robot with a unique fin
    Third Quarter 2019, Festo, This Week's Editor's Pick, Robotics & Mechatronics
          Swimming like the natural model The longitudinal fins of the polyclad and the cuttlefish extend from the head to the tail along their backs, their undersides or the two sides of their torsos. To ...
  • The future of collaborative robots
    Third Quarter 2019, Omron Electronics, Robotics & Mechatronics
    Factories worldwide are dealing with the challenges of manufacturing a wide variety of low volume products to meet customer demands, as well as shorter product life cycles and labour shortage issues. ...
  • Industry 5.0 – the best of both worlds
    2nd Quarter 2019, Cobots , This Week's Editor's Pick, Robotics & Mechatronics
    The convergence of robot capabilities and human skills.
  • Pneumatic robotics meets artificial intelligence
    2nd Quarter 2019, Festo, This Week's Editor's Pick, Robotics & Mechatronics
    Festo’s pneumatic robot hand BionicSoftHand, combined with the BionicSoftArm, a pneumatic lightweight robot, shows that future concepts are suitable for human-robot collaboration.
  • V-lock system and co-operative robots
    2nd Quarter 2019, Metal Work Pneumatic South Africa, Robotics & Mechatronics
    Metal Work has developed applications for the automation of the assembly process together with producers of co-operative robots.
  • A bionic flying fox
    1st Quarter 2019, Festo, This Week's Editor's Pick, Robotics & Mechatronics
    Festo has for years been developing research platforms where the basic technical principles are derived from nature.
  • New Scara robot family
    1st Quarter 2019, Omron Electronics, Robotics & Mechatronics
    Omron is introducing a new line of Scara robots, boasting a sleek design and enhanced performance.
  • Smart sensors for smart factories
    3rd Quarter 2018, SICK Automation Southern Africa , Other technologies
    Parts of the so-called ‘smart factory’ are already reality, and many processes and functions between information and operations spheres are becoming increasingly coordinated. At the centre of implementing ...
  • Festo’s human-robot collaboration with artificial intelligence
    2nd Quarter 2018, Festo, This Week's Editor's Pick, Robotics & Mechatronics
    By means of intelligent workplaces capable of learning, such as the BionicWorkplace, and the use of multifunctional tools, collaboration between humans and machines will be even more intuitive, simple and efficient in future.
  • SICK launches new premises
    2nd Quarter 2018, SICK Automation Southern Africa , News & events
    Sensor and automation specialist, SICK Automation Southern Africa recently held the official opening of its custom designed, state-of-the-art premises in Lanseria Corporate Estate.
  • Autonomous food robots move with the times
    2nd Quarter 2018, Omron Electronics, Robotics & Mechatronics
    Autonomous intelligent vehicles (AIVs), such as Omron’s LD platform, use sensors to create a static map of their surroundings, so they have no need for physical guides.
  • Autonomous food robots move with the times
    1st Quarter 2018, Omron Electronics, Robotics & Mechatronics
    As with many other industries in the world today, food and beverage manufacturers are under immense pressure to increase productivity and sales while keeping manufacturing costs down. A normal reaction ...

Technews Publishing (Pty) Ltd
1st Floor, Stabilitas House
265 Kent Ave, Randburg, 2194
South Africa
Publications by Technews
Dataweek Electronics & Communications Technology
Electronics Buyers’ Guide (EBG)

Hi-Tech Security Solutions
Hi-Tech Security Business Directory

Motion Control in Southern Africa
Motion Control Buyers’ Guide (MCBG)

South African Instrumentation & Control
South African Instrumentation & Control Buyers’ Guide (IBG)
Terms & conditions of use, including privacy policy
PAIA Manual


    classic | mobile

Copyright © Technews Publishing (Pty) Ltd. All rights reserved.