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Robotics 2017, 6(2), 12; doi:10.3390/robotics6020012

Bin-Dog: A Robotic Platform for Bin Management in Orchards

1
Center for Precision & Automated Agricultural Systems, Washington State University, Prosser, WA 99350, USA
2
School of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99163, USA
3
School of Mechanical, Industrial & Manufacturing Engineering, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Huosheng Hu
Received: 1 April 2017 / Revised: 10 May 2017 / Accepted: 18 May 2017 / Published: 22 May 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agriculture Robotics)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [7364 KB, uploaded 24 May 2017]   |  

Abstract

Bin management during apple harvest season is an important activity for orchards. Typically, empty and full bins are handled by tractor-mounted forklifts or bin trailers in two separate trips. In order to simplify this work process and improve work efficiency of bin management, the concept of a robotic bin-dog system is proposed in this study. This system is designed with a “go-over-the-bin” feature, which allows it to drive over bins between tree rows and complete the above process in one trip. To validate this system concept, a prototype and its control and navigation system were designed and built. Field tests were conducted in a commercial orchard to validate its key functionalities in three tasks including headland turning, straight-line tracking between tree rows, and “go-over-the-bin.” Tests of the headland turning showed that bin-dog followed a predefined path to align with an alleyway with lateral and orientation errors of 0.02 m and 1.5°. Tests of straight-line tracking showed that bin-dog could successfully track the alleyway centerline at speeds up to 1.00 m·s−1 with a RMSE offset of 0.07 m. The navigation system also successfully guided the bin-dog to complete the task of go-over-the-bin at a speed of 0.60 m·s−1. The successful validation tests proved that the prototype can achieve all desired functionality. View Full-Text
Keywords: GPS; laser scanner; orchard; bin management; navigation GPS; laser scanner; orchard; bin management; navigation
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Ye, Y.; Wang, Z.; Jones, D.; He, L.; Taylor, M.E.; Hollinger, G.A.; Zhang, Q. Bin-Dog: A Robotic Platform for Bin Management in Orchards. Robotics 2017, 6, 12.

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