Navigation of an Autonomous Tractor for a Row-Type Tree Plantation Using a Laser Range Finder—Development of a Point-to-Go Algorithm
It is challenging to develop a control algorithm that uses only one sensor to guide an autonomous vehicle. The objective of this research was to develop a control algorithm with a single sensor for an autonomous agricultural vehicle that could identify landmarks in the row-type plantation environment and navigate a vehicle to a point-to-go target location through the plantation. To enable such a navigation system for the plantation system, a laser range finder (LRF) was used as a single sensor
... o detect objects and navigate a full-size autonomous agricultural tractor. The LRF was used to control the tractor as it followed a path, and landmarks were detected "on-the-go" in real time. The landmarks were selected based on data for their distances calculated by comparison with the surrounding objects. Once the landmarks were selected, a target point was calculated from the landmarks, and the tractor was navigated toward the target. Navigation experiments were successfully conducted on the selected paths without colliding with the surrounding objects. A real time kinematic global positioning system (RTK GPS) was used to compare the positioning between the autonomous control and manual control. The results of this study showed that this control system could navigate the autonomous tractor to follow the paths, and the vehicle position differed from the manually driven paths by 0.264, 0.370 and 0.542 m for the wide, tight, and U-turn paths, respectively, with directional accuracies of 3.139°, 4.394°, and 5.217°, respectively, which are satisfactory for the autonomous operation of tractors on OPEN ACCESS Robotics 2015, 4 342 rubber or palm plantations. Therefore, this laser-based landmark detection and navigation system can be adapted to an autonomous navigation system to reduce the vehicle's sensor cost and improve the accuracy of the positioning.