PhD Project – Data-based networked process management in agricultural engineering

Agricultural sciences work on the digitization of agriculture based on Industry 4.0. The current development in agricultural technology towards ever larger machines is reaching its limits. Against this background, autonomous agricultural machinery could help to break the current trend and enable much smaller machine concepts. Research is therefore working intensively on the development of agricultural mobile robots. This project deals with field robotics and its use as a maintenance and analysis platform.

The aim is to use an existing robot platform and a “digital field” to test the application limits of field robots, autonomously generate data and perform a field application. For this purpose, images of a plant population are recorded on the robot platform by means of a camera, weeds are detected and localized by image processing. These weeds are removed using a robotic arm.

The innovation is to collect data from weeds with a high degree of precision in terms of their position and to provide this data in a temporally and spatially linked form for further analysis. For this, the knowledge of the exact position and orientation of the mobile robot platform is of crucial importance.

Field robotics and digitization offers the possibility of energy saving, the reduction of fertilizer and pesticides through an intelligent and high-precision application of these resources. The networking of data enables the establishment of more efficient forms of management through new approaches.