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Crop design for improved robotic harvesting: A case study of sweet pepper harvesting
Proefstation voor de Groenteteelt (PSKW), Sint-Katelijne-Waver, Belgium.
Örebro University, School of Science and Technology. Department of Industrial Engineering and Management, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel. (MRO)ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4685-379x
Proefstation voor de Groenteteelt (PSKW), Sint-Katelijne-Waver, Belgium.
Department of Industrial Engineering and Management, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7430-8468
2020 (English)In: Biosystems Engineering, ISSN 1537-5110, E-ISSN 1537-5129, Vol. 192, p. 294-308Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Current harvesting robots have limited performance, due to the unstructured and dynamic nature of both the target crops and their environment. Efforts to date focus on improving sensing and robotic systems. This paper presents a parallel approach, to "design" the crop and its environment to best fit the robot, similar to robotic integration in industrial robot deployments.

A systematic methodology to select and modify the crop "design" (crop and environment) to improve robotic harvesting is presented. We define crop-dependent robotic features for successful harvesting (e.g., visibility, reachability), from which associated crop features are identified (e.g., crop density, internode length). Methods to influence the crop features are derived (e.g., cultivation practices, climate control) along with a methodological approach to evaluate the proposed designs. A case study of crop "design" for robotic sweet pepper harvesting is presented, with statistical analyses of influential parameters. Since comparison of the multitude of existing crops and possible modifications is impossible due to complexity and time limitations, a sequential field experimental setup is planned. Experiments over three years, 10 cultivars, two climate control conditions, two cultivation techniques and two artificial illumination types were performed. Results showed how modifying the crop effects the crops characteristics influencing robotic harvesting by increased visibility and reachability. The systematic crop "design" approach also led to robot design recommendations. The presented "engineering" the crop "design" framework highlights the importance of close synergy between crop and robot design achieved by strong collaboration between robotic and agronomy experts resulting in improved robotic harvesting performance.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2020. Vol. 192, p. 294-308
Keywords [en]
Crop design, Harvesting robot, Sweet pepper, Agricultural robotics, Crop engineering, Robot design
National Category
Agricultural Science, Forestry and Fisheries
Research subject
Computer Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-80645DOI: 10.1016/j.biosystemseng.2020.01.021Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85079874831OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-80645DiVA, id: diva2:1414578
Note

This research was supported by the European Commission (SWEEPER GA nr. 644313), and by Ben-Gurion University of the Negev through the Helmsley Charitable Trust, the Agricultural, Biological and Cognitive Robotics Initiative, the Marcus Endowment Fund, and the Rabbi W. Gunther Plaut Chair in Manufacturing Engineering. We acknowledge the SWEEPER partners who contributed general technical support for data collection.

Available from: 2020-03-13 Created: 2020-03-13 Last updated: 2020-03-17Bibliographically approved

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Kurtser, Polina

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