Robotic Mowing of Tall Fescue at 90 mm Cutting Height: Random Trajectories vs. Systematic Trajectories

Mino Sportelli, Marco Fontanelli, Michel Pirchio, Christian Frasconi, Michele Raffaelli, Lisa Caturegli, Simone Magni, Marco Volterrani, Andrea Peruzzi
2021 Agronomy  
Tall fescue (Schedonorus arundinaceus (Schreb.) Dumort.) is often managed with a cutting height ranging from 70 to 100 mm in ornamental lawns. Some autonomous mowers have been specifically designed to maintain mowing height in the same range. Generally, autonomous mowers operate by following random trajectories, and substantial overlapping is needed to obtain full coverage of the working area. In the case of tall grass, this may cause lodging of grass plants, which in turn may reduce turf
more » ... y. The introduction of a navigation system based on systematic trajectories has the potential to improve the performances of autonomous mowers with respect to machine efficiency and turf quality. With the aim of determining the effects of reduced mowing frequency and systematic navigation systems on turf quality and mower performances in terms of working time, energy consumption and overlapping, the performances of two autonomous mowers working with random and systematic trajectories were tested on a mature tall fescue lawn at 90 mm cutting height. The working efficiency was approximately 80% for the systematic trajectories and approximately 35% for the random trajectories; this was mainly due to the lower overlapping associated with systematic trajectories. Turf quality was slightly higher for the mower working systematically (a score of 8 using a 1–9 score with 1 = poor, 6 = acceptable and 9 = best) compared to the one working randomly (quality of 7 and 6 on a 1–9 scale with 1 = poor and 9 = best). No appreciable lodging was observed in either case. For tall, managed lawns, systematic trajectories may improve autonomous mowers' overall performances.
doi:10.3390/agronomy11122567 fatcat:je2ihansw5bahjcr6nf4alugye