We designed and developed an original arm-robot system that harvests asparagus in both outdoor and indoor agricultural fields. Using the system, we carried out harvesting work automatically with input data related to asparagus vegetation in restricted settings. The developed fixed-site (non-wheeled) robot can reach out its arm to a stem of asparagus from a passage between two ridges on cultivated farmland without touching non-target stems or requiring changes to the farm conditions. Additionally, the hand at the tip of the arm stably grasps, cuts, harvests, and throws the stem it into a specific bag made for the gathering of agricultural crops. In mechanical terms, our originally developed robot arm has four degrees of freedom and is driven by motors. It harvests target asparagus stems without coming into contact with other objects in an agricultural setting, and the hand using the linkage mechanism of a pneumatic cylinder driven by air pressure, can hold the stem firmly and cut it. Our repetitive verification experiments showed that the mechanism is sufficiently accurate. The present study confirmed the robot arm system could be used for automatically harvesting asparagus, and the system was endorsed by several farmers. Moreover, we carried out experiments of harvesting asparagus on actual outdoor land and successfully harvested three stems sequentially under the condition that the operator obtained the positional coordinates earlier.
P. Abhishesh, B. S. Ryuh, Y. S. Oh, H. J. Moon, and R. Akanksha, “Multipurpose Agricultural Robot Platform: Conceptual Design of Control System Software for Autonomous Driving and Agricultural Operations Using Programmable Logic Controller,” International Journal of Mechanical, Aerospace, Industrial, Mechatronic and Manufacturing Engineering, vol. 11, no. 3, pp. 496-500, January 2017.
S. Arima, N. Kondo, Y. Yagi, M. Monta, and Y. Yoshida, “Harvesting robot for strawberry grown on table top culture,” Journal of SHITA, vo. 13, no. 3, pp. 159-166, January 2001.
S. Arima, S. Shibusawa, N. Kondo, and J. Yamashita, “Traceability based on multi-operation robot; information from spraying, harvesting and grading operation robot,” Proceedings of International Conference on IEEE/ASME 2003, vol. 2, pp. 1204-1209, 2003..
S. Arima, N. Kondo, and M. Monta, “Strawberry Harvesting Robot on Table-top Culture,” Proceedings of ASAE Annual Meeting 2004, pp. 1, 2004.
M. Ayamura, “Experiment of running operation and harvesting motions related to asparagus harvesting robot in farmland,” Proceedings of IEEE/SICE International Symposium on System Integration: SI2013, pp. 2671-2674, 2013.
C. W. Bac, E. J. Henten, J. Hemming, and Y. Edan, “Harvesting Robots for High‐value Crops: State‐of‐the‐art Review and Challenges Ahead,” Journal of Field Robotics, vol. 31, no. 6, pp. 888-911, 2014.
T. Bak, and H. Jakobsen, “Agricultural robotic platform with four wheel steering for weed detection,” Biosystems Engineering, vol. 87, no. 2, pp. 125-136, 2004.
A. Bechar, and C. Vigneault, “Agricultural robots for field operations: Concepts and components,” Biosystems Engineering, vol. 149, pp. 94-111, 2016.
A. Bechar, and C. Vigneault, “Agricultural robots for field operations. Part 2: Operations and systems,” Biosystems Engineering, vol. 153, pp. 110-128, 2017.
V. Bloch, A. Degani, and A. Bechar, “Task characterization and classification for robotic manipulator optimal design in precision agriculture,” Precision agriculture'15, pp. 247-257.
E. A. Bobeck, D. K. Combs, and M. E. Cook, “Introductory animal science–based instruction influences attitudes on animal agriculture issues,” Journal of Animal Science, vol. 92, no. 2, pp. 856-864, 2014.
F. A. Cheein, D. Herrera, J. Gimenez, R. Carelli, M. Torres-Torriti, J. R. Rosell-Polo, and J. Arnó, “Human-robot interaction in precision agriculture: Sharing the workspace with service units,” Proceedings of 2015 IEEE International Conference on Industrial Technology (ICIT), pp. 289-295, 2015.
M. D. Coley, W. J. Warner, K. S. Stair, J. L. Flowers, and D. B. Croom, “Technology Usage of Tennessee Agriculture Teachers,” Journal of Agricultural Education, vol. 56, no. 3, pp. 35-51, 2015.
S. Cubero, S. Alegre, N. Aleixos, and J. Blasco, “Computer vision system for individual fruit inspection during harvesting on mobile platforms,” Precision agriculture, vol. 15, pp. 547-552, 2015.
A. English, P. Ross, and D. Ball, “Vision based guidance for robot navigation in agriculture,” Proceedings of 2014 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), pp. 1693-1698, 2014.
Y. Fujii, T. Nanseki, H. Kobayashi, and T. Kojima. “The characteristics of expert know-how in agricultural planning on large-scale paddy field farms: a case study of a corporate farm in Shiga prefecture,” Agricultural Information Research, vol. 22, no. 3, pp. 142-158, 2013.
T. Grift, Q. Zhang, N. Kondo, and K. C. Ting, “A review of automation and robotics for the bioindustry,” Journal of Biomechatronics Engineering, vol. 1, no. 1, pp.1, January 2008.
M. Mann, B. Zion, I. Shmulevich, and D. Rubinstein, “Determination of robotic melon harvesting efficiency: a probabilistic approach,” International Journal of Production Research, vol. 54, no. 11, pp. 3216-3228, 2016.
S. S. Mehta, and T. F. Burks, “Vision-based control of robotic manipulator for citrus harvesting,” Computers and Electronics in Agriculture, vol. 102, pp. 146-158, January 2014.
Y. Morio, T. Shoji, and K. Murakami, “Working motion templates for detecting agricultural worker behaviors,” Engineering in Agriculture, Environment and Food, vol. 9, no. 4, pp. 297-304, 2016.
S. Muhammad, S. Zora, and S. K. Ahmad. “Delayed harvest and cold storage period influence ethylene production, fruit firmness and quality of ‘Cripps Pink’ apple. International Journal of Food Science and Technology, vol. 2011, no. 46, pp. 2520-2529, January 2011.
S. Nakayama, M. Ohno, H. Hori, M. Tanaka, N. Toda, and M. Hirafuji, “Research on the Requirements for Field Server, and Study of a Design and Manufacturing Method to Mass-produce Field Server. Agricultural Information Research, vol. 23, no. 1, pp. 29-37, January 2014.
T. Nanseki, S. Takeuchi, and Y. Shinozaki, “Business development, ICT use, and personal training in agricultural corporations: an analysis of nationwide questionnaire survey. Agricultural Information Research, vol. 22, no. 3, pp. 159-173, 2013.
F. Y. Narvaez, G. Reina, M. Torres-Torriti, G. Kantor, and F. A. Cheein, “A Survey of Ranging and Imaging Techniques for Precision Agriculture Phenotyping. IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics, vol. 22, no. 6, pp. 2428-2439, 2017.
Panasonic Inc. “Robots living with human. Official introduction of products. http://news.panasonic.com/jp/stories/2016/45398.htm. Accessed 25 September 2016.
S. M. Pedersen, S. Fountas, H. Have, and B. S. Blackmore, “Agricultural robots—system analysis and economic feasibility,” Precision agriculture, vol. 7, no. 4, pp. 295-308, 2006.
M. Sekine, K. Sugimori, and W. Yu, “Research of Shoulder Prostheses Based on Spatial Accessibility Evaluation - Designing and Prototyping a Small Pneumatic Actuator Driven Parallel Link Arm -,” Life Support, vol. 2012, no. 24, pp. 170-174, 2012.
Shibuya Seiki Co., Ltd. (2013) “Stable robot for strawberry harvesting combined with circulative moving planting system,” Publications of National Agriculture and Food Research Organization. http://www.naro.affrc.go.jp/project/results/laboratory/brain/2013/13_087.html. Accessed 31 December 2013.
A. Shinjo, and M. Kudo, “The practical use of IT in agriculture: the movement into high-value-added crops and integrated solutions,” The Journal of the Institute of Electronics, Information, and Communication Engineers, vol. 96, no. 4, pp. 280-285, 2013.
A. Silwal, J. R. Davidson, M. Karkee, C. Mo, Q. Zhang, and K. Lewis, “Design, integration, and field evaluation of a robotic apple harvester,” Journal of Field Robotics, vol. 34, no.6, pp. 1140-1159, 2017.
L. N. Smith, W. Zhang, M. F.Hansen, I. J. Hales, and M. L. Smith, “Innovative 3D and 2D machine vision methods for analysis of plants and crops in the field,” Computers in Industry, vol. 97, pp. 122-131, 2018.
Squse Inc. “Tomato harvesting robot. Official introduction of products,” http://www.squse.co.jp/news/detail.php?id=205. Accessed 31 October 2014.
Y. Taguchi, “Development of totally Automatic harvesting robot. Publications of University of Nagasaki,” https://www.pref.nagasaki.jp/shared/uploads/2013/09/1380349099.pdf. Accessed 31 December 2013.
V. F. Tejada, M. F. Stoelen, K. Kusnierek, N. Heiberg, and A. Korsaeth, “Proof-of-concept robot platform for exploring automated harvesting of sugar snap peas,” Precision Agriculture, vol. 18, no. 6, pp. 952-972, 2017.
A. C. Thoron, and S. E. Burleson, “Students’ Perceptions of Agriscience when Taught Through Inquiry-Based Instruction,” Journal of Agricultural Education, vol. 55, no. 1, pp. 66-75, 2014.
N. Tsujiuchi, A. Ito, Y. Nakaie, and N. Katayama, “360 Vibration Characteristics Evaluation and Vibration Reduction of 5-Axis Scott-Russell Robot Arm. Proceedings of Dynamics and Design Conference: D and D 2014,” vol. 360, pp. 1-13, 2014.
R. Vidoni, R. Gallo, G. Ristorto, G. Carabin, F. Mazzetto, L. Scalera, and A. Gasparetto, “An Agricultural Mobile Robot Prototype for Proximal Sensing and Precision Farming,” Proceedings of ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) 2017 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Expsition, V04AT05A057, pp. 1-7, January 2017.
P. A. Witt, J. D. Ulmer, S. Burris, T. Brashears, and H. Burley, “A Comparison of Student Engaged Time in Agriculture Instruction,” Journal of Agricultural Education, vol. 55, no. 2, pp. 16-32, 2014.
B. Yang, N. Hanajima, A. Yamamoto, M. Ayamura, and J. Dai, “Path-generating regulator along a straight passage for two-wheeled mobile robots,” Proceedings of 2013 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), pp. 4837–4844, April 2013.
P. Zhao, T. Chen, W. Wang, and F. Chen, “Research on the Agricultural Skills Training Based on the Motion-Sensing Technology of the Leap Motion,” Computer and Computing Technologies in Agriculture, vol. 9, pp. 277-286, April 2016.
Y. Zhao, L. Gong, Y. Huang, and C. Liu, “A review of key techniques of vision-based control for harvesting robot,” Computers and Electronics in Agriculture, vol. 127, pp. 311-323, 2016.
A. Zujevs, V. Osadcuks, and P. Ahrendt, “Trends in robotic sensor technologies for fruit harvesting: 2010-2015,” Procedia Computer Science, vol. 77, pp. 227-233, January 2015.