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Design Innovation

Development of the Reconfigurable Data Acquisition Vehicle for Bio-Energy Crop Sensing and Management

[+] Author and Article Information
Yonghua Xiong

Department of Automobile Engineering,  Beihang University and Visiting Scholar at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL 61801xyh8016@gmail.com

Lei Tian

Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering,  University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL 61801lei-tian@illinois.edu

Tofael Ahamed

Graduate School of Life and Environmental Sciences,  University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba 305-8572, Japantofael.ahamed.gp@u.tsukuba.ac.jp

Bin Zhao

Department of Automobile Engineering,  Beihang University and Visiting Scholar at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL 61801benjamin.zhao.1983@gmail.com

J. Mech. Des 134(1), 015001 (Jan 05, 2012) (7 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4004914 History: Received October 24, 2009; Revised July 19, 2011; Published January 05, 2012; Online January 05, 2012

In this article, the development of the Reconfigurable Data Acquisition Vehicle (R-DAV) that has a high performance as a wheeled mobile robot is presented. The R-DAV is designed to monitor and manage the growing status of bio-energy crops, and the vehicle will be used for image collection, density measurements, and chemical applications. A theoretical model has been proposed to optimize the configuration. The 4-Wheel-Drive-4-Wheel-Steering (4WD4WS) locomotion was proposed as the essential base for high traffic conditions and maneuverability, and a prototype model was fabricated for this scenario. The chassis was uniquely reconfigured in two ways: (1) by adjusting the clearance and (2) by changing the wheel gauge. The reconfiguration of the clearance was necessary to operate the vehicle over a range of heights of bio-energy crops at different growing stages in the Miscanthus (Miscanthus is a genus of about 15 species of perennial grasses native to subtropical and tropical regions of Africa and southern Asia). The adjustable wheel gauge layout was designed to follow variable inter-row tracks in the Miscanthus field. Furthermore, a triangle-shaped guard was specifically considered to minimize the crop damage when the vehicle enters into the field.

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Copyright © 2012 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figures

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Figure 1

Miscanthus field (a) Miscanthus at 2 months and (b) 3 years, a—Specified inter-row distance; L—Approximate width of vehicle

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Figure 2

R-DAV concept in precision farming

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Figure 3

Wheel-terrain sinkage model (a) rigid wheel and (b) deflection trend of a flexible wheel

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Figure 4

A single-wheel vehicle model

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Figure 6

The top frame of chassis

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Figure 7

Different layouts of wheel gauges

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Figure 8

Prototype of R-DAV

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