/Development of a Ground-Based Robot for High-Throughput Plant Phenotyping

Development of a Ground-Based Robot for High-Throughput Plant Phenotyping

Timothy Mueller-Sim
Master's Thesis, Tech. Report, CMU-RI-TR-17-46, Robotics Institute, Carnegie Mellon University, August, 2017

Download Publication (PDF)

Copyright notice: This material is presented to ensure timely dissemination of scholarly and technical work. Copyright and all rights therein are retained by authors or by other copyright holders. All persons copying this information are expected to adhere to the terms and constraints invoked by each author’s copyright. These works may not be reposted without the explicit permission of the copyright holder.


The effect of the genomic revolution has had a significant impact on plant breeding — in the past ten years the cost of gene sequencing has decreased by 5 orders of magnitude. Unfortunately detecting and quantifying the expression of a genotype under field conditions is still an expensive and laborious task. Field-based robotic phenotyping can help reduce this phenotyping bottleneck, and can provide vast quantities of data that plant scientists can use to map specific desirable and undesirable traits to genetic markers. These associations can in turn be used to rapidly accelerate the plant breeding process.

This thesis describes the development of a novel robot ground-based platform capable of autonomously navigating below the canopy of row crops such as sorghum or corn while carrying a modular array of contact and non-contact sensors for high-throughput plant phenotyping. It also presents the results from several deployments to \textit{Sorghum bicolor} breeding plots at Clemson University in South Carolina, USA.

BibTeX Reference
author = {Timothy Mueller-Sim},
title = {Development of a Ground-Based Robot for High-Throughput Plant Phenotyping},
year = {2017},
month = {August},
school = {Carnegie Mellon University},
address = {Pittsburgh, PA},
number = {CMU-RI-TR-17-46},
keywords = {phenotyping, precision agriculture, ground robot},