A reduced-size ground-tracked electric rover, with advanced autonomous navigation capabilities, serving as “transportable power unit” that, properly equipped with implements that are easily interchangeable, supports the farmer in a number of daily operations such as distribution of pesticides, forestry mulching, harvesting, irrigation. and others, as well as collection of field data to be used for prediction and management purposes. The rover is then modularly conceived to serve as a “Worker”, when equipped with implements supporting the famer in daily operations, and as a “Sentinel”, when equipped with a sensor suite for continuously mapping the field. From a mechanical viewpoint the main idea is to push forward a small smart machine with marked capabilities in terms of re-configurability to serve in many roles. The key concept is to size the platform (in terms of power and mechanical design) to target small/medium plot of lands that represent a relevant economical and soc...
A reduced-size ground-tracked electric rover, with advanced autonomous navigation capabilities, serving as “transportable power unit” that, properly equipped with implements that are easily interchangeable, supports the farmer in a number of daily operations such as distribution of pesticides, forestry mulching, harvesting, irrigation. and others, as well as collection of field data to be used for prediction and management purposes. The rover is then modularly conceived to serve as a “Worker”, when equipped with implements supporting the famer in daily operations, and as a “Sentinel”, when equipped with a sensor suite for continuously mapping the field. From a mechanical viewpoint the main idea is to push forward a small smart machine with marked capabilities in terms of re-configurability to serve in many roles. The key concept is to size the platform (in terms of power and mechanical design) to target small/medium plot of lands that represent a relevant economical and social entry market. The consequent small and lightweight structure responds to the clear need of having a platform easy-to-maintain, with affordable initial costs, efficient, easily transportable, and “light” to make possible interventions on field also in presence of adverse terrains. The idea is to push toward an expandability concept based on replica of such a basic “small” platform if larger production rates or plots of land must be managed rather than to make it bigger.
The locomotion system is fully electric that makes the platform meeting the highest standard in terms of sustainability and environmental impact. Furthermore, it lends itself to be recharged with solar panels by making it perfectly suited in sunny countries. The additional important feature of the platform in relation to this call is the navigation system that involves a fully autonomous configuration mode and a teleoperation mode. As for the latter, in particular, the actual platform can be teleoperated over internet allowing one to drive a rover located somewhere in Africa with the pilot located in Bologna.
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Lorenzo Marconi
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Lorenzo Marconi Scientific advisor Professor in automatic control at University of Bologna. working in robotics.