This page describes the robots we have built for research in agriculture
Mantis and Shrimp
General purpose perception research ground vehicles.
Used across our industry projects in defence, mining, and agriculture
Flexible platforms allow rapid deployment in new environments, then we can do the research back in the lab to work out what lower cost sub-set of sensing and equipment can be used to build an industry / application specific prototype
In addition to the sensors seen below, we have added a soil conductivity sensor (dragged behind Shrimp), a natural gamma radiation sensor (also to measure soil properties) and recently a hyperspectral imaging sensor.
Ladybird will transform the way we monitor and harvest vegetables in a broad-acre setting. The project is in collaboration with Horticulture Australia and AusVeg.
The mobile ground robot and supporting intelligent software will have the capability of conducting autonomous farm sensing and manipulation tasks for various vegetable crop varieties. These will include mapping, classification, detection, weeding and ultimately harvesting.
The Ladybird robot is a lightweight omni-directional electric vehicle, inspired by the Coccinellidae (Ladybird). It is equipped with sensing, manipulation, communication and supporting hardware and software. Various user interfaces will also be developed for the growers, contractors and harvesters, so that they can control the robot and use the information derived from the system.
The system has been commissioned during its first field trial at a commercial vegetable farm near Cowra, New South Wales.
Large area remote sensing unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).
Used across our projects in weed detection.
The UAV has a downward pointing camera with resolution of 1024 by 768 pixels. The field of view is 28 by 22 degrees, and the sample rate is at 3.75 Hz.
Fixed wing aircraft generally have higher payload capacity, longer flight duration and are able to cover larger distances than hovering platforms. The J3 Cub is useful for large area surveys, and is able to provide 'satellite style' imagery at a much higher resolution and lower cost than is possible from space. Using photogrammetry techniques it is also possible to map the terrain, and the combined terrain estimates and imagery are useful for many agricultural survey applications.
Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for remote sensing and interaction.
Hovering platforms typically have a smaller payload carrying capacity than the larger, faster, fixed wing aircraft, however, they are able to get much closer to the ground and to fly at lower speeds or hover. They are suited to ultra high resolution scanning and targeted surveys, and even for interaction with the environment such as targeted spraying. For example, we are able to use the onboard cameras to automatically identify weeds and then automatically target the spray.
We have several different hovering platforms, with a variety of sensors and spray capabilities.
RIPPA™ and VIIPA™
RIPPA™ (Robot for Intelligent Perception and Precision Application) is our new production prototype robot. Mounted to the robot is VIIPA™ (Variable Injection Intelligent Precision Applicator) which has demonstrated autonomously shooting weeds at high speed using a directed micro-dose of liquid.
The technology can be used to automatically apply the correct dose of fluid required anywhere on the farm at high speed. It will enable farmers to capitalise by minimising application input costs and improving information quality for better high level decision making.