Session: Robotics


  • RasPi/Arduino hacking
  • Swarming robots
  • Datalogger vs Micro for quality data monitoring
  • Interfacing
  • Robots as data sampling tool
  • Robotics for new farming methods - particularly cotton


  • Jack: I want to be able to add sensors to platform that goes into a field and captures data
  • Jane: robots for Ag
  • Ned: Drones
  • Ken: Tractor based sensor systems
  • Sabrina:
  • Ian: Field data collection is often error prone - robots will probably take over and do better job
  • On farm automation - even a greenhouse temp control is a sort of robot


  • Pi vs Arduino vs Datalogger vs…
  • Linux system vs microprocessor with no OS
  • Appeal of linux system is importing existing code, more intensive data analytics
  • Different levels for different tasks
  • Start with a Pi for prototyping, migrate to arduino for actual implementation to save power etc
  • Datalogger - only logs, doesn’t respond to input but that’s changing…?
    • There’s a missing open versitile and flexible data logger
    • There’s a missing std sensor protocol
    • Automation of greenhouse temp control?

Robotics ecosystem

  • Pixhawk: See DYI tractor automation forum threads on ardupilot/diydrones
  • ROS:
    • open Source Ag group - Matt Droter
    • Peralax sold a hexapod system 10yrs ago, what’s happended to that ?
    • Does ROS have a role as a data capture pub-sub framework if extended with useful nodes and formats?

Swarming for Ag

  • A swarm of smaller scale robots that fit inbetween plants that could roam 24/7 for eg:
    • weed control via cutting (which also provides free mulch), reduced soil compaction for various task, precise inter-seeding, access after crop has gotten too big for tractor etc
    • Eg ROWBOT maybe
  • A swarm could enable wide scale simultaneous data collection


  • An Ardupilot plugin that allowed auto gridding missions based on distances rather than GPS would make field work more efficient (think place drone down and it covers a 10x10 1m grid regardless of its starting point and without having to make each mission
  • Air quality
    • A ground drone or a rover and a mast?
    • airborne
  • Increasing interest in using animals to carry sensor platforms especially in inaccessible areas eg: volcanic activity/clouds/etc
  • ROS for data sampling: baked into robot community, convert to json, speals MAVLINK (what Ardupilot speaks)