Agricultural Robot under Solar Panels for Sowing, Pruning, and Harvesting in a Synecoculture Environment

Takuya Otani*, Akira Itoh, Hideki Mizukami, Masatsugu Murakami, Shunya Yoshida, Kota Terae, Taiga Tanaka, Koki Masaya, Shuntaro Aotake, Masatoshi Funabashi, Atsuo Takanishi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Currently, an agricultural method called SynecocultureTM has been receiving attention as a means for multiple crop production and recovering from environmental degradation; it helps in regreening the environment and establishing an augmented ecosystem with high biodiversity. In this method, several types of plants are grown densely, and their management relies mainly on manual labor, since conventional agricultural machines and robots cannot be applied in complex vegetation. To improve work efficiency and boost regreening by scaling-up Synecoculture, we developed a robot that can sow, prune, and harvest in dense and diverse vegetation that grows under solar panels, towards the achievement of compatibility between food and energy production on a large scale. We adopted a four-wheel mechanism with sufficient ability to move on uneven terrain, and a two orthogonal axes mechanism with adjusted tool positioning while performing management tasks. In the field experiment, the robot could move straight on shelving slopes and overcome obstacles, such as small steps and weeds, and succeeded in harvesting and weeding with human operation, using the tool maneuver mechanism based on the recognition of the field situation through camera image.

Original languageEnglish
Article number18
JournalAgriculture (Switzerland)
Volume13
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Jan

Keywords

  • agricultural robots
  • harvesting
  • pruning
  • sowing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Plant Science

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