Evaluation of the performance of PoultryBot, an autonomous mobile robotic platform for poultry houses

Bastiaan A. Vroegindeweij*, Sam K. Blaauw, Joris M.M. IJsselmuiden, Eldert J. van Henten

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Assessment of animal status, housing conditions and manually collecting floor eggs are the major daily tasks for poultry farmers. To assist the farmer in these tasks, PoultryBot, an autonomous mobile robot for use in poultry houses has been developed. In earlier research, several components of PoultryBot were discussed in detail. Here, performance of the robot is evaluated under practical conditions. For navigation, different paths were used to assess its navigation performance for various tasks, such as area sweeping and surveying close to walls. PoultryBot proved capable of navigating autonomously more than 3000 m, while avoiding obstacles and dealing with the hens present. The robustness of its navigation performance was tested by confronting PoultryBot with obstacles in different positions with respect to its path and using different settings of the navigation parameters. Both factors clearly influenced the driving behaviour of PoultryBot. For floor egg collection, detection and collection of eggs was assessed at 5 predefined egg positions lateral to the path of the robot. Over 300 eggs were tested; 46% were collected successfully, 37% was not collected successfully, and 16% were missed. The most observed failures occurred when the collection device was just next to the egg. It is thought that this problem can be solved by improving the control algorithm. The results demonstrate the validity of the PoultryBot concept and the possibility of autonomous floor egg collection in commercial poultry houses. Furthermore, they indicate that application of smart autonomous vehicles in dense animal environments is feasible.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295-315
JournalBiosystems Engineering
Volume174
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2018

Keywords

  • Autonomous navigation
  • Floor egg collection
  • Mobile monitoring
  • Mobile robot
  • Performance evaluation
  • Poultry farming

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