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Autonomous Mechanical Thinning Using Scanning LIDAR

Matthew Aasted, Reuben J. Dise, Tara Auxt Baugher, James R Schupp, Paul H Heinemann and Sanjiv Singh
Conference Paper, Carnegie Mellon University, 2011 ASABE Annual International Meeting, July, 2011

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Hand thinning is a labor-intensive and expensive peach production practice. Mechanical thinning has been shown to be an economical method of reducing thinning cost. However, current mechanical thinning systems applied to perpendicular V systems require the operator to constantly steer the tractor to maintain engagement. This paper presents a system using a LIDAR to sense the canopy and automatically control the position of a modified Darwin string thinner position to maintain engagement. We demonstrate that the automated system is approximately as good as a human at maintaining canopy engagement by presenting blossom removal counts, and suggest that this may be an economically viable method of augmenting mechanical thinning.

BibTeX Reference
title = {Autonomous Mechanical Thinning Using Scanning LIDAR},
author = {Matthew Aasted and Reuben J. Dise and Tara Auxt Baugher and James R Schupp and Paul H Heinemann and Sanjiv Singh},
booktitle = {2011 ASABE Annual International Meeting},
keyword = {Automation, Mechanical Thinning, LIDAR.},
school = {Robotics Institute , Carnegie Mellon University},
month = {July},
year = {2011},
address = {Pittsburgh, PA},