Agriculture can be a field as favorable as the industry for the application of automation. Computer-based sensors and actuators such as global positioning systems, machine vision, and laser-based sensors have progressively been incorporated into mobile robots with the aim of configuring autonomous systems capable of shifting operator activities in agricultural tasks. Several agricultural robots have been developed in the recent past. Unlike industrial robots, the challenges for robots in agriculture are diverse. The presence of robots in agriculture has grown significantly in recent years, overcoming some of the challenges and complications of this field.
This book provides a wide-ranging overview of the current state of automated agriculture and an important understanding of its forthcoming challenges. This book aims to present a complete and recent state of the art about the application of robots in agriculture. The work addresses from two perspectives. On the one hand, it involves the disciplines that lead the automation of agriculture, such as precision agriculture and greenhouse farming, and collects the proposals for automatizing tasks like planting and harvesting, environmental monitoring and crop inspection and treatment.
On the other hand, it compiles and analyses the robots that are proposed to accomplish these tasks: e.g. manipulators, ground vehicles and aerial robots. The book strives to develop system architecture for both individual robots and robots working in fleets to improve reliability, decrease complexity and costs, and permit the integration of software from different developers. Several solutions are studied, from a fully distributed to a whole integrated architecture in which a central computer runs all processes. This work also studies diverse topologies for controlling fleets of robots and advances other prospective topologies. The book equips readers with real-world cases on unmanned aerial vehicles to support precision agriculture in oil palm plantations; smart agricultural machine with a computer vision-based weeding and variable-rate irrigation scheme; design and control of the agricultural robot for tomato plants treatment and harvesting. In the last years, multiple groups around the world have applied different automation solutions to diverse agricultural tasks. This book aims to collect the state of the art about robotics applied to agriculture, as well as to describe more exhaustively some of our practical experiences.