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IPA robots demonstrate autonomous route planning capability

CURTmini is the smallest robot representative. - Photos: Fraunhofer IPA
CURTmini is the smallest robot representative. - Photos: Fraunhofer IPA

The autonomous outdoor navigation technology developed at Fraunhofer IPA in Stuttgart, Germany, can cope with all challenges for outdoor navigation and allows agricultural robots to be used, for example, for mechanical weed control.

In addition to software development, the research group is creating agricultural robot prototypes known as ‘CURT’. Two of these robots will be on show at the Agritechnica trade fair stand of IPA, giving visitors an insight of how it all works.

The first, CURTdiff, has the ability to autonomously recognize rows of crops between artificially raised ridges, as is common practice in potato and asparagus cultivation, and manoeuver along them fully autonomously.

The second, CURTmini, which is the smallest robot representative, will move across an area featuring floor modules that offer different levels of maneuverability, e.g., grass, wood and gravel. Depending on the calculated level of traversibility, the robot accordingly adapts to the situation to independently plan a path that avoids obstacles. Thanks to interchangeable floor modules, the course is interactive.

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CURTdiff, has the ability to autonomously recognize rows of crops between artificially raised ridges.
CURTdiff, has the ability to autonomously recognize rows of crops between artificially raised ridges.

Adaptive path planning capability

Trade fair visitors will also have an opportunity to change the floor modules to see the robot’s adaptive path planning capability for themselves. In addition, visitors can place obstacles in the way of the robots to see how the robot dynamically recalculates its path. Furthermore, screens will be installed at the trade fair stand playing videos to highlight potential application areas such as winemaking and apple cultivation.

The exhibits organized by the Fraunhofer IPA development team are particularly geared towards manufacturers and users of agricultural machinery. However, the navigation software is of interest for a range of other autonomous machinery used both indoors and outdoors. The CURTmini is also available for purchase as a research platform.

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Asscheman
Ed Asscheman Online editor Future Farming





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