DOI: 10.3390/electronics12153232 ISSN: 2079-9292

A Collaborative Path Planning Method for Intelligent Agricultural Machinery Based on Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

Min Shi, Xia Feng, Senshan Pan, Xiangmei Song, Linghui Jiang
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Signal Processing
  • Control and Systems Engineering

The development of agricultural farming has evolved from traditional agricultural machinery due to its efficiency and autonomy. Intelligent agricultural machinery is capable of autonomous driving and remote control, but due to its limited perception of farmland and field obstacles, the assistance of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) is required. Although existing intelligent systems have greater advantages than traditional agricultural machinery in improving the quality of operations and reducing labor costs, they also produce complex operational planning problems. Especially as agricultural products and fields become more diversified, it is necessary to develop an adaptive operation planning method that takes into account the efficiency and quality of work. However, the existing operation planning methods lack practicality and do not guarantee global optimization because traditional planners only consider the path commands and generate the path in the rectangular field without considering other factors. To overcome these drawbacks, this paper proposes a novel and practical collaborative path planning method for intelligent agricultural machinery based on unmanned aerial vehicles. First, we utilize UAVs for obstacle detection. With the field information and operation data preprocessed, automatic agricultural machinery could be assisted in avoiding obstacles in the field. Second, by considering both the historical state of the current operation and the statistics from previous operations, the real-time control of agricultural machinery is determined. Therefore, the K-means algorithm is used to extract key control parameters and discretize the state space of agricultural machinery. Finally, the dynamic operation plan is established based on the Markov chain. This plan can estimate the probability of agricultural machinery transitioning from one state to another by analyzing data, thereby dynamically determining real-time control strategies. The field test with an automatic tractor shows that the operation planner can achieve higher performance than the other two popular methods.

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