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Specification of Behavioural Requirements for an Autonomous Tractor

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Pp. 033-042 in Automation Technology for Off-Road Equipment, Proceedings of the July 26-27, 2002 Conference (Chicago, Illinois, USA)  701P0502.(doi:10.13031/2013.10067)
Authors:   Simon Blackmore, Henrik Have and Spyros Fountas

Over the last decade new information technologies, such as GPS and GIS, have been introduced that has allowed the scale of management to be reduced from farm level, down to field level and occasionally to sub field level. With the advent of new information technologies, such as behaviour-based robotics, this process can be continued into the future by looking at an even smaller scale such as plant scale technology or Phytotechnology. (From the Greek phyto, which means plant) These new Phytotechnology units will be small autonomous systems that can behave in a sensible manner for long periods unattended, caring for the individual plant from seeding through to selective harvesting. With this level of sophisticated equipment, it is likely that higher value crops such as in horticulture or forestry will be able to justify such an investment first. Very little new hardware is needed but the challenge is in defining and implementing sensible behaviour and developing the systems architecture to support it. This paper sets out the criteria for the design of such a system.

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