Collision-free motion planning for a cucumber picking robot

E.J. van Henten, J. Hemming, B.A.J. van Tuijl, J.G. Kornet, J. Bontsema

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    69 Citations (Scopus)


    One of the most challenging aspects of the development, at the Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Engineering (IMAG B.V.), of an automatic harvesting machine for cucumbers was to achieve a fast and accurate eye-hand co-ordination during the picking operation. This paper presents a procedure developed for the cucumber harvesting robot to pursue this objective. The procedure contains two main components. First of all acquisition of sensory information about the working environment of the robot and, secondly, a program to generate collision-free manipulator motions to direct the end-effector to and from the cucumber. This paper elaborates on the latter. Collision-free manipulator motions were generated with a so-called path search algorithm. In this research the A*-search algorithm was used. With some numerical examples the search procedure is illustrated and analysed in view of application to cucumber harvesting. It is concluded that collision-free motions can be calculated for the seven degrees-of-freedom manipulator used in the cucumber picking device. The A*-search algorithm is easy to implement and robust. This algorithm either produces a solution or stops when a solution cannot be found. This favourable property, however, makes the algorithm prohibitively slow. The results showed that the algorithm does not include much intelligence in the search procedure. It is concluded that to meet the required 10 s for a single harvest cycle, further research is needed to find fast algorithms that produce solutions using as much information about the particular structure of the problem as possible and give a clear message if such a solution can not be found
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)135-144
    JournalBiosystems Engineering
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2003

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