Special Issue "Agricultural Robots"

A special issue of Robotics (ISSN 2218-6581).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2013)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Giovanni Muscato

Dipartimento di Ingegneria Elettrica Elettronica e Informatica, University of Catania, Viale Andrea Doria 6, 95125 Catania (CT), Italy
Website | E-Mail
Fax: +39 095 330793
Interests: robotic in agriculture; service robots; field robots; climbing robots; telerobotics; unmanned aerial vehicles
Guest Editor
Dr. Domenico Longo

Dipartimento di Gestione dei Sistemi Agroalimentari e Ambientali (DiGeSA), University of Catania, Via S. Sofia 100, 95123 Catania (CT), Italy
Website | E-Mail
Interests: robotic in agriculture; service robots; climbing robots; unmanned aerial vehicles; computer vision; automation in agriculture

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Many research activities in the field of agricultural robotics started more than 20 years ago, but most of them were discontinued due to the high costs of implementation and the unsuccessful results. The agriculture environment is much less structured than the industrial and it is very difficult to adapt already available machines and techniques. In addition tasks are frequently performed outdoors, with difficult weather conditions. Recently due the decrease in the cost of sensors, computing equipment and many other robotic related technologies, many researchers have started new projects and proposed new applications of robots in agriculture. Moreover nowadays the rising costs of labor and new safety regulations make the adoption of robots in agriculture more convenient.

This special issue welcomes submissions concerning new theories and methods and innovative applications of robotics in agriculture. We particularly encourage papers with thorough experimental evaluation.

Prof. Dr. Giovanni Muscato
Dr. Domenico Longo
Guest Editors

Keywords

  • automated harvesting systems
  • autonomous navigation in the fields
  • robotics to automate agricultural operations such as mowing, pruning, seeding, spraying or thinning
  • impact of robots in the fields
  • innovative HMI for agricultural robotics
  • robots in forestry
  • new standards for agricultural robotics
  • UAV and RPAS for agricultural applications
  • cooperative robots in agriculture
  • methods for agricultural robots management

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Towards an Open Software Platform for Field Robots in Precision Agriculture
Robotics 2014, 3(2), 207-234; doi:10.3390/robotics3020207
Received: 20 September 2013 / Revised: 12 May 2014 / Accepted: 18 May 2014 / Published: 13 June 2014
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (3486 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Robotics in precision agriculture has the potential to improve competitiveness and increase sustainability compared to current crop production methods and has become an increasingly active area of research. Tractor guidance systems for supervised navigation and implement control have reached the market, and prototypes
[...] Read more.
Robotics in precision agriculture has the potential to improve competitiveness and increase sustainability compared to current crop production methods and has become an increasingly active area of research. Tractor guidance systems for supervised navigation and implement control have reached the market, and prototypes of field robots performing precision agriculture tasks without human intervention also exist. But research in advanced cognitive perception and behaviour that is required to enable a more efficient, reliable and safe autonomy becomes increasingly demanding due to the growing software complexity. A lack of collaboration between research groups contributes to the problem. Scientific publications describe methods and results from the work, but little field robot software is released and documented for others to use. We hypothesize that a common open software platform tailored to field robots in precision agriculture will significantly decrease development time and resources required to perform experiments due to efficient reuse of existing work across projects and robot platforms. In this work we present the FroboMind software platform and evaluate the performance when applied to precision agriculture tasks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Robots)
Open AccessArticle Design Issues and in Field Tests of the New Sustainable Tractor LOCOSTRA
Robotics 2014, 3(1), 83-105; doi:10.3390/robotics3010083
Received: 10 October 2013 / Revised: 20 February 2014 / Accepted: 6 March 2014 / Published: 20 March 2014
PDF Full-text (2985 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper presents a robotized small tractor designed to perform humanitarian demining operations and agricultural operations when demining is accomplished. This dual use makes this system unique. The focus is on the design of the machine, including the modeling for design and control,
[...] Read more.
This paper presents a robotized small tractor designed to perform humanitarian demining operations and agricultural operations when demining is accomplished. This dual use makes this system unique. The focus is on the design of the machine, including the modeling for design and control, the characteristics of the tools operated by the machine, the motion control at tele-operated, and semi-autonomous levels. The mechatronic design process applied uses sustainable design strategies. Technical contributions are in the tractor architecture, designed to make automation easier, and in the control functions implemented on this architecture. Extensive field tests were performed in different sites; first, in Italy, focusing on the agricultural application of the machine, in natural scenarios with different ground and vegetation; then, in two real mine fields in Jordan focusing on the performance for technical survey in humanitarian demining. The tests have confirmed the performance for both task categories (agricultural and demining), confirming the correctness of the statement. For the demining application, the machine has been assessed by professional users confirming the acceptance to field use and the novelty of the concept. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Robots)
Open AccessArticle Design and Simulation of Two Robotic Systems for Automatic Artichoke Harvesting
Robotics 2013, 2(4), 217-230; doi:10.3390/robotics2040217
Received: 9 October 2013 / Revised: 19 November 2013 / Accepted: 21 November 2013 / Published: 2 December 2013
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (608 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The target of this research project was a feasibility study for the development of a robot for automatic or semi-automatic artichoke harvesting. During this project, different solutions for the mechanical parts of the machine, its control system and the harvesting tools were investigated.
[...] Read more.
The target of this research project was a feasibility study for the development of a robot for automatic or semi-automatic artichoke harvesting. During this project, different solutions for the mechanical parts of the machine, its control system and the harvesting tools were investigated. Moreover, in cooperation with the department DISPA of University of Catania, different field structures with different kinds of artichoke cultivars were studied and tested. The results of this research could improve artichoke production for preserves industries. As a first step, an investigation on existing machines has been done. From this research, it has been shown that very few machines exist for this purpose. Based also on previous experiences, some proposals for different robotic systems have been done, while the mobile platform itself was developed within another research project. At the current stage, several different configurations of machines and harvesting end-effectors have been designed and simulated using a 3D CAD environment interfaced with Matlab®. Moreover, as support for one of the proposed machines, an artificial vision algorithm has been developed in order to locate the artichokes on the plant, with respect to the robot, using images taken with a standard webcam. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Robots)
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