Robotics & Mechatronics


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, mark.madeley@sickautomation.co.za, www.sick.com



Credit(s)



Share this article:
Share via emailShare via LinkedInPrint this page

Further reading:

Efficient pneumatic performance with multifunctional sensor
Fourth Quarter 2020, SICK Automation Southern Africa , Pneumatic systems & components
SICK Automation’s recently introduced multifunctional FTMg (flow thermal meter for gases) flow sensor detects pneumatic system leakages well before pressure loss causes machine failure. It is engineered ...

Read more...
The role of pick and place robots
Fourth Quarter 2020 , Robotics & Mechatronics
As automation became widely accepted and implemented throughout various industries, robotics took it one step further with robots designed for specific applications, such as handling, packaging and ...

Read more...
Mobile robot with 1500 kg payload capacity
Fourth Quarter 2020, Omron Electronics , Robotics & Mechatronics
The 1500 kg payload capacity enables transportation of large automotive components such as car chassis and voluminous pallet size payloads − items that would have traditionally been moved using forklifts. ...

Read more...
Reducing business downtime with robots
Third Quarter 2020 , Robotics & Mechatronics
In a world that is always connected and moving at a blistering speed, businesses cannot afford to have extensive periods of downtime. As efficiency becomes a primary driver of business, industries are ...

Read more...
The new mobility: how sensors control the cobots of the future
Third Quarter 2020, SICK Automation Southern Africa , Editor's Choice
The ongoing development of small, powerful and flexibly positionable robots that can collaborate with humans is progressing in leaps and bounds. Sensors from SICK Automation are an important component. ...

Read more...
Gimatic builds on its mechatronics expertise
Third Quarter 2020, Gimatic , Robotics & Mechatronics
Gimatic is a leading global manufacturer of pneumatic and electric grippers for End Of Arm Tooling used in industrial automation. The company specialises in the production of vacuum cups (flat and bellow), ...

Read more...
The future of collaborative robots
Third Quarter 2020, Omron Electronics , Editor's Choice, Robotics & Mechatronics
Collaborative robots (cobots) that can work safely in the same environment as people have an important role in enabling flexible manufacturing and creating a competitive advantage for companies. A new ...

Read more...
Thousands of robots swarm together
Second Quarter 2020 , Editor's Choice, Robotics & Mechatronics
Harvard engineers have created a robotic system consisting of a swarm of 1024 small robots called Kilobots that can collaborate and organise themselves into complex shapes.

Read more...
Robots in the time of COVID-19
Second Quarter 2020 , Robotics & Mechatronics
COVID-19 has swept through the lives of people across the globe, disrupted all industries and brought the world’s economy to a grinding halt. As the world moves towards a different tomorrow, future-orientated ...

Read more...
Eighteen synchronous NC axes
Second Quarter 2020, Beckhoff Automation , Editor's Choice, Robotics & Mechatronics
Swedish equipment manufacturer, Ecmec, has developed a high-tech machine for a supplier to the automobile industry that can complete several process steps simultaneously without having to remount the ...

Read more...