Date of this Version
Sedaghat, H. 2020. Design and Development of a Robotic System to Simulate Autonomous Management in Plant Nursery. Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Existing plant management and harvesting approaches, such as visual scouting, ground-based proximal sensing, and manual harvesting, are labor-intensive, time-consuming, and do not scale quickly to large areas. Therefore, to facilitate more efficient farming methods, innovative technologies must be adopted to achieve optimal plant management as well as giving rise to the rate of food production. Inspired by the 2019 robotic design competition held by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE), this project aimed to develop an autonomous robotic system to simulate plant management in a nursery. The mechanism discussed in this paper uses proximity sensors as the means of navigating its way through a 16 ft. by 4 ft. board that represents the plant nursery. Upon detecting a plant, it uses a custom-designed robotic arm to collect and distinguish it between the two categories of red and green using an RGB color sensor. Upon correct identification, the collected plants are then stored on a circular storage unit. Finally, with input from all the sensors, the system will navigate its way across the board to deposit the plants in their respective marked zones. The total run time of the system to execute the above tasks successfully was averaged at 269 seconds. With recent advancements in technology, agricultural producers now have the ability to use robotics in their field to eliminate the intensive labor required to accomplish simple, repeatable tasks and save time in collecting data to increase the rate of food production.