Simulation based evaluation of design of agricultural robots moving in farmland

Aim: The purpose of this project is to investigate whether it is possible to evaluate designs of agricultural robots in computer simulations of the farmland environment using existing software for mechanical design and simulation of robots. This is the first step of developing an agriculture robot for agricultural use in Taiwan.

Social/scientific motivation: Because of the small land area, Taiwan has quality agriculture with a low degree of mechanisation. With the ageing population, the Taiwanese agriculture suffer from a lack of manpower. We therefore want to enable design of specialised robots.

Scientific background: We will use ROS and Gazebo to build the simulation environment and design a prototype robot to test the simulation environment. There are many industrial applications of ROS, but few agricultural applications. In most cases, robots are tested by deploying them in the real world under very limited experimental conditions. In order to explore more operational situations, for safety testing and cost minimisation, it is advantageous to do these tests in computer simulations. Farm environments are hard to simulate in sufficient detail.

Shun-Jie’s motivation: I want to improve my skill in robotics and try something different. I find that ROS is a very interesting development framework.

Members: Shun-Jie Zhang, Torbjörn Nordling