This page describes the robots we have built for research in agriculture
SwagBot is an omni-directional electric ground vehicle designed for use on grazing livestock farms. It has a rugged composite chassis and is capable of navigating undulating and hilly terrain and farm obstacles such as water, mud and branches. Current research is focussed on autonomous farm activities for pasture and livestock monitoring.
RIPPA™ and VIIPA™
RIPPA™, the Robot for Intelligent Perception and Precision Application is our production prototype for the vegetable growing industry. Based on the Ladybird design, the platform configuration for RIPPA was modified to make it lighter, rugged and easier to operate.
Mounted on RIPPA is VIIPA™, Variable Injection Intelligent Precision Applicator, used for autonomous spot spraying of weeds at high speed using a directed micro-dose of liquid.
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.
The Digital Farmhand is a low cost row crop robot aimed towards helping small scale farmers in Australia & overseas to perform row crop analytics and automation of simple farming tasks. The design of the platform is based around the use of cheap low cost sensors, computing and manufacturing techniques which will allow the farmer to easily maintain and modify their platform to suit their needs. The platform also has an actuated 3 point hitch mechanism which allows various implements to be attached to rear of the platform (similar to a tractor). Currently 4 implements have been manufactured for this platform. These include a sprayer, seeder, tine weeder and a tow ball hitch.
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.