Strategies for Selecting Best Approach Direction for a Sweet-Pepper Harvesting Robot Conference Paper uri icon

abstract

  • An autonomous sweet pepper harvesting robot must perform several tasks to successfully harvest a fruit. Due to the highly unstructured environment in which the robot operates and the presence of occlusions, the current challenges are to improve the detection rate and lower the risk of losing sight of the fruit while approaching the fruit for harvest. Therefore, it is crucial to choose the best approach direction with least occlusion from obstacles. The value of ideal information regarding the best approach direction was evaluated by comparing it to a method attempting several directions until successful harvesting is performed. A laboratory experiment was conducted on artificial sweet pepper plants using a system based on eye-in-hand configuration comprising a 6DOF robotic manipulator equipped with an RGB camera. The performance is evaluated in laboratorial conditions using both descriptive statistics of the average harvesting times and harvesting success as well as regression models. The results show roughly 40–45% increase in average harvest time when no a-priori information of the correct harvesting direction is available with a nearly linear increase in overall harvesting time for each failed harvesting attempt. The variability of the harvesting times grows with the number of approaches required, causing lower ability to predict them. Tests show that occlusion of the front of the peppers significantly impacts the harvesting times. The major reason for this is the limited workspace of the robot often making the paths to positions to the side of the peppers significantly longer than to positions in front of the fruit which is more open.

publication date

  • January 1, 2017