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Low-Cost Obstacle Detection Sensor Array for Unmanned Agricultural Vehicles

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

Citation:  2010 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, June 20 - June 23, 2010  1008702.(doi:10.13031/2013.36203)
Authors:   Santosh K Pitla, Joe D Luck, Scott A Shearer
Keywords:   Unmanned agricultural vehicles, IR sensors, mobile robots, autonomous vehicles

Mobile robots deployed for agricultural applications must operate in harsh environments where they encounter a variety of both moveable and immovable obstacles. Typically, robots utilize vision sensors to learn about the environment in which they are working. In this study, a low-cost infra-red (IR) sensor array was developed to act as an obstacle detection aid for an unmanned agricultural vehicle (UAgV). The IR sensor array developed consists of six IR sensors mounted on two orthogonal steel plates. The array of sensors was continuously oscillated about the yaw-axis to traverse a 2000 field of view in front of the UAgV. Three identical cylindrical barrels were used as obstacles to evaluate the response of the sensor array in four scenarios for initial testing. In all the four scenarios, the IR sensor array was able to detect the barrels placed within the sensing range (1 m to 5 m) and the field of view (2000).

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