Electronics Projects for ECE on Agricultural Robot

Project Abstract

                       The number of electronic devices connected to agricultural machinery is increasing to support new agricultural tasks related to the Precision Agriculture such as remote sensing and spatial variability mapping. Based on the necessity of projecting more automated agricultural machines and implements, a current trend in the agricultural area is the development of mobile robots and autonomous vehicles. These robots and vehicles developed with the same technologies existing in agricultural machinery can be more efficient doing specific tasks than traditional large tractors, giving the same, or even greater, overall output as conventional systems.

                    One of the major challenges in the design of these robots is the development of the electronic architecture for the integration and control of the several devices related to the motion, navigation, data acquisition and communication (or teleoperation) systems. A technology that has strong potential to be applied on the devices interconnection in agricultural machinery is the CAN protocol. This technology provides significant benefits and has been used as an embedded control network in agricultural robots and vehicles. The implementation of the ISO11783 (ISOBUS) standard represents the standardization of the CAN protocol for application in agricultural machinery. Hope this Idea will help all Students for their Final Year Electronics Engineering Projects.

Project Model of Agricultural Robot 

Introduction to Project

                    An increase in the application of the automation and informatics in the agricultural area can be observed in recent times. New agricultural practices, related to the Precision Agriculture, have enhanced the importance in the research of embedded sensors and communication networks for the study of spatial variability and remote sensing applications. A certain degree of automation is necessary for the use of these new practices that depend on some recent technologies only adapted for the agricultural area such as the case of the global positioning systems, geographic information systems and the interconnection of devices and controllers used in the agricultural machinery.

                 New technologies and devices for real-time data acquisition and actuation have been released to equip agricultural machinery to support these practices and automated. A strong tendency is the development of mobile robots and autonomous vehicles for application in specific tasks, improving the efficiency and giving better results (soil compaction reduction and machine operator absence) when compared with the use of traditional large tractors and implements.

Design of the Mobile Robot

            The agricultural mobile robot was designed to be used as an experimental platform for the development of control, navigation and data acquisition technologies to the agricultural area. The major application of the robot is to do the remote sensing of agronomic parameters of most important Brazilian culture in large areas. It doesn’t require actions that demand high power, as in agricultural operations, but only moving efficiently in this environment.

               The mechanical structure was designed by the studying of work conditions required in the field and desired characteristics of the project. It was established that the structure should be in a portico, capable of operating in cultures, with an adjustable gauge to operate in various row spacing cultivation. To accomplish this, the system was designed in independent modules, together with telescopic bars, to meet the maximum possible situations. The steering module, the propulsion module and central box complete the system. The structure also should be light and flexible compared with commercial agricultural vehicles, with the possibility to insert new sensors and actuators. The side boxes contain the electronic systems to communicate with the CAN field bus and the motor controllers and also protect these devices from weather, dust and vibrations. It is important to observe that heavier items in the robot such as batteries, propulsion and steering systems and side boxes are at least one meter of the soil, contributing to lower structure centre of gravity, increasing its stability on sloping land.

                The robot architecture with distributed CAN field bus was designed symmetrically between right and left sides of the structure, which allows the homogenous distribution of weight, simplifies the development, reduces design time and costs and the number of cables, and accomplishes the maintenance of equipment installed in the system. 


                 This paper presented the development of field bus architecture for teleoperation and distributed control of an agricultural mobile robot. The application of the ISO11783 standard based on CAN protocol provided an efficient platform to develop the distributed control system of the robot. Individual control nodes or electronic control units (ECUs) reduced the computational load of the task computer by implementing feedback control logic at the ECUs and ease the data communication between the devices of the robot.


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