When the fruit is ripe, a large number of fruit farmers will participate in the transportation and packing of the fruit in the orchard. This is a job that requires a lot of labor. However, in recent years, the rural labor force has shown a trend of aging and high costs, which has caused an increase in transportation costs and a decline in efficiency to a certain extent. In order to alleviate the impact of this situation on fruit production, the Smart Agriculture Innovation Team of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences has developed an intelligent follow-me delivery robot, which is called the Little Sowing, as shown in Figure 1. The Little Sowing adopts the SCOUT 2.0 all-round robot chassis of Agilex Robotics. And the upper equipped with functional modules such as LiDAR, remote control ground station, follow me module, voice recognition and playback system, etc. Using autonomous driving, obstacle avoidance, stable following, human and machine voice interaction and other technologies, according to the manually set transportation route, cycling driving, to help the farmer achieve repeated fast, time-saving and low cost transportation operations in the specified region to reduce the farmer transportation burden ensures the transportation efficiency at the collection site.
Little Sowing function description
First of all, the Little Sowing has the functions of automatic driving and obstacle avoidance in the orchard. It’s equipped with a remote control ground station, through which it can realize the functions of drawing transportation trajectory, issuing tasks, position and log management. After receiving the task, the Little Sowing can autonomously perform transportation tasks between the rows of the orchard. At the same time, it can also stop loading and unloading and continue operations at any time according to voice instructions. The ground station is simple and convenient to operate, easy to use, and can also be connected to all robots or other loT devices in the orchard.
After receiving the task from ground station, Little Sowing began to follow the route obediently to perform the task. It drove along the track autonomously, carefully and steadily until the task is completed.
Secondly, Little Sowing also has an autonomous follow function. The follow function can enable it to follow the farmer to deliver agricultural materials, fruit and vegetables in real time, thereby reducing the farmer’s labor intensity. After the follow function is turned on, the follow module on Little Sowing will monitor the distance and angle of the label in the hands of the farmer in real time, and then convert it into its own motion control information to achieve follow. The follow module is shown in Figure 2.
In addition, the Little Sowing also has the function of voice interaction. It can introduce itself, drive by voice instructions, introduce the weather, report the farm information, etc. all of this support customization. The real-time voice interaction between the Little Sowing and the farmer not only enhances the practicality and operability of the robot, but also makes the farmer feel fun in the process of using.At present, the team is still designing transportation and loading equipment for Little Sowing, which will be upgraded into a complete and useful intelligent device. It is believed that the gradual application and continuous improvement of Little Sowing in the future will create the fastest and most scientific transportation plan to meet the high-efficiency, low-cost, and convenient collection and transportation requirement of farmer in transportation.
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