A mission planner for an autonomous tractor

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  • Dionysis Bochtis
  • S.G. Vougioukas
  • Hans W. Griepentrog
In this article, a mission planner of field coverage operations for an autonomous agricultural tractor is presented. Missions for a particular autonomous tractor are defined using an XML (extendible markup language) formatted file that can be uploaded to the tractor through the user interface. Using the tree hierarchy of the mission file, several actions are determined, including the sequence of points the tractor has to follow, the type of motion between successive points (e.g.,straight motion or maneuvering), the type of predefined turning routine used in maneuvering, and the actions that should be taken once the tractor reaches the desired point (e.g., raising or lowering the attached tool, turning on or turning off the ower take-off). In order to automatically create the XML mission files, a program was developed using the MATLAB technical programming language. The program uses data regarding the field (geometry, dimensions, field sub-regions, working direction, initial and final desired locations of the tractor), the operating width, and the operation type (mowing, spraying) as inputs. The planning method is based on an algorithmic approach where field coverage planning is transformed and formulated, via semantic representations, as a vehicle routing problem (VRP). By using this approach, the total non-working distance can be reduced by up to 50% compared to the conventional non-optimized method. Three sets of experiments are presented. In the first set, three fields were separately covered; in the second set, three neighboring fields were covered as part of a single tractor mission; and in the third set of experiments, a single field was covered during a hypothetical spraying operation for two different locations of the refilling facility.
Original languageEnglish
JournalTransactions of the ASAE
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)1429-1440
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2009

    Research areas

  • Agricultural robots, Automatic, Machinery management, Optimization models, Planning

ID: 15892628