Robotics has the potential to revolutionize inspection and harvesting tasks on commodity farms (corn, soybeans, and wheat) and high-value specialty farms (fruits and nuts). This is true from the standpoints of labor, economics, early disease detection, and crop assessment. Specialty farms stand to benefit the most because the tending and harvesting of their crops still require significant amounts of manual labor. By contrast, most aspects of commodity farms have already been automated. The Agricultural Robotics VIP Team will have as its goal leveraging recent advances in robotics to improve agricultural processes. Its emphasis will be on fielding functional devices/systems.
Issues Involved or Addressed
An important part of the fruit cultivation cycle is tree pruning, which is the selective removal of branches prior to the spring growth season. Pruning serves several purposes: it exposes more interior surface area to sunlight (once leaf growth occurs), limits the overall height of the tree (to facilitate manual harvesting) and removes undesired older growth (to permit new growth to better thrive). Pruning is manually intensive and requires a high degree of expertise. Over Fall 2021 and Spring 2022, the Agricultural Robotics VIP Team will work closely with a research team in the Department of Horticulture at UGA Griffin to explore the intelligent automation of peach tree pruning. Based on high-resolution laser line scans of the trees in a research peach orchard in Griffin, algorithms will be developed to determine optimal pruning actions. A corresponding novel robot pruning tool will be conceptualized, designed, fabricated and tested for integration onto an existing GTRI mobile robot arm platform.
Methods and Technologies
Academic Majors of Interest
- Computing›Computer Science
- Computing›OMSCS synchronous
- Engineering›Electrical Engineering
- Engineering›Mechanical Engineering
Preferred Interests and Preparation
ME, CS, ECE
Meeting Schedule & Location
- Georgia Tech Research Institute