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A Remotely Controlled Bin-Dog for Transferring Bins in Orchard Environments

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

Citation:  Paper number  131596530,  2013 Kansas City, Missouri, July 21 - July 24, 2013. (doi: @2013
Authors:   Yunxiang Ye, Long He, Jianfeng Zhou, Meng Wang, Qin Zhang, Karen Lewis
Keywords:   Bin-dog remote control bin handle fruit harvest

Abstract. A robotic solution for handling bins in orchards has been designed and fabricated, proving the practicality of a robotic in-orchard bin handling concept for fruit harvest. The tested functionalities of this conceptual bin-dog include: (1) to transport an empty bin to the harvest area, (2) to traverse an empty bin over a full bin in an orchard row, and (3) remove a full bin from the harvest area. All of these functions were controlled remotely by a joystick controller. The remote controller was constructed using microcontrollers and wireless modules, which allowed the operator to adjust the speed of the driven wheels and the bin-loading gear remotely. To evaluate the functionality of the bin-dog prototype, the system was tested in two separated working conditions: on paved road (solid ground) and in an apple orchard (soft ground). Results showed that this remote controlled bin-dog system can successfully accomplish the designated functionalities. The bin transferring procedure was completed at an average of 211 s on paved-road solid ground and 187 s in orchard environment when the full bin was 15 m away from the start point. The orchard tests verified that the proposed conceptual bin-dog system can be used to transport bins in an orchard.

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