Automation of Repetative Tasks in the Agricultural Sector

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Labour in the agricultural sector is in short supply, while a large portion of the work is still being done manually. To speed up the work and guarantee the food supply of the future, Lely has started a project on agricultural automation. The aim of the project is to create a robot that can perform multiple repetitive tasks simultaneously, to allow for a large portion of the weekly work to be automated.

As a first step in the automation process, the decision was made to create a specialised robot arm. The hardware and software design of this robot arm will be discussed in this thesis. Arm control including inverse kinematics was built from scratch to optimise for a SCARA type robot arm while keeping the required processing power low.

To evaluate the arm design, lab tests were conducted on a specific task. During the lab test, the task was performed by the designed robot arm.
An average of 20 consecutive successful runs has been achieved. Although these results are promising, there is room for improvement in both the object detection, as well as the smooth control of the robot arm.