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Design of a UGV Powered by Solar Energy for Precision Agriculture

In this paper, a novel UGV (unmanned ground vehicle) for precision agriculture, named “Agri.q,” is presented. The Agri.q has a multiple degrees of freedom positioning mechanism and it is equipped with a robotic arm and vision sensors, which allow to challenge irregular terrains and to perform precision field operations with perception. In particular, the integration of a 7 DOFs (degrees of freedom) manipulator and a mobile frame results in a reconfigurable workspace, which opens to samples collection and inspection in non-structured environments. Moreover, Agri.q mounts an orientable landing platform for drones which is made of solar panels, enabling multi-robot strategies and solar power storage, with a view to sustainable energy. In fact, the device will assume a central role in a more complex automated system for agriculture, that includes the use of UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) and UGV for coordinated field monitoring and servicing. The electronics of the device is also discussed, since Agri.q should be ready to send-receive data to move autonomously or to be remotely controlled by means of dedicated processing units and transmitter-receiver modules. This paper collects all these elements and shows the advances of the previous works, describing the design process of the mechatronic system and showing the realization phase, whose outcome is the physical prototype.