Free-range robot for gardens

Industrial Robot

ISSN: 0143-991x

Article publication date: 1 August 2000




Hollingum, J. (2000), "Free-range robot for gardens", Industrial Robot, Vol. 27 No. 4.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited

Free-range robot for gardens

Free-range robot for gardens

Keywords: Robots, Navigation

Inventor: James K. Rocks (US)Patent number: US597434Publication date: 26 October 1999Title: System and method for performing mobile work operations

A precise automated work system and method is provided. One or more self-navigating robots can perform automated work operations with precision given six degrees of freedom in an undulating, sloping or irregular terrain, such as, a commercial truck garden. A self-propelled robot moves through the garden and performs gardening tasks following a specified course by dead reckoning and periodically determining its position and orientation by a navigation fix. At least seven navigation beacons are positioned around a perimeter of a garden work area. Each beacon emits'electromagnetic radiation across the garden for detection by the self-propelled robot. A panoramic image'collector gathers and focuses electromagnetic radiation from each navigation beacon on an electronic camera to form at least seven beam spots. The relative position of the detected beam spots in the focal plane vary depending upon the six degrees of freedom for robot movement in a garden: the robot's three-dimensional position (x,y,z) and the robot's orientation (heading, pitch, and roll). A navigation module determines the position and orientation of the robot within the garden based on the output of the imaging camera. A self-propelled gardening robot performs many varied automated farming tasks from tillage, to planting, to harvesting by controlling the point of impact of an implement carried by a robot with precision, that is, to within an inch on average for any given position coordinate. Commercial feasibility of small truck gardens is improved as automation is comprehensive and accessible to the solitary farmer.

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