Improving the efficiency of spatially selective operations for agricultural robotics in cropping field
AbstractCropping fields often have well-defined poor-performing patches due to spatial and temporal variability. In an attempt to increase crop performance on poor patches, spatially selective field operations may be performed by agricultural robotics to apply additional inputs with targeted requirements. This paper addresses the route planning problem for an agricultural robot that has to treat some poor-patches in a field with row crops, with respect to the minimization of the total non-working distance travelled during headland turnings and in-field travel distance. The traversal of patches in the field is expressed as the traversal of a mixed weighted graph, and then the problem of finding an optimal patch sequence is formulated as an asymmetric traveling salesman problem and solved by the partheno-genetic algorithm. The proposed method is applied on a cropping field located in Northwestern China. Research results show that by using optimum patch sequences, the total non-working distance travelled during headland turnings and in-field travel distance can be reduced. But the savings on the non-working distance inside the field interior depend on the size and location of patches in the field, and the introduction of agricultural robotics is beneficial to increase field efficiency.
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