DOI: 10.3390/robotics12060165 ISSN: 2218-6581

AgroCableBot: Reconfigurable Cable-Driven Parallel Robot for Greenhouse or Urban Farming Automation

Andrés García-Vanegas, María J. García-Bonilla, Manuel G. Forero, Fernando J. Castillo-García, Antonio Gonzalez-Rodriguez
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Control and Optimization
  • Mechanical Engineering

In this paper, a Cable-Driven Parallel Robot developed to automate repetitive and essential tasks in crop production in greenhouse and urban garden environments is introduced. The robot has a suspended configuration with five degrees-of-freedom, composed of a fixed platform (frame) and a moving platform known as the end-effector. To generate its movements and operations, eight cables are used, which move through eight pulley systems and are controlled by four winches. In addition, the robot is equipped with a seedbed that houses potted plants. Unlike conventional suspended cable robots, this robot incorporates four moving pulley systems in the frame, which significantly increases its workspace. The development of this type of robot requires precise control of the end-effector pose, which includes both the position and orientation of the robot extremity. To achieve this control, analysis is performed in two fundamental aspects: kinematic analysis and dynamic analysis. In addition, an analysis of the effective workspace of the robot is carried out, taking into account the distribution of tensions in the cables. The aim of this analysis is to verify the increase of the working area, which is useful to cover a larger crop area. The robot has been validated through simulations, where possible trajectories that the robot could follow depending on the tasks to be performed in the crop are presented. This work supports the feasibility of using this type of robotic systems to automate specific agricultural processes, such as sowing, irrigation, and crop inspection. This contribution aims to improve crop quality, reduce the consumption of critical resources such as water and fertilizers, and establish them as technological tools in the field of modern agriculture.