Farming consumes considerable energy, natural resources and intensive human labor. Robotic assisted farmer can make farming activities more precise and more efficient; particularly it may remedy shortage of farmers in the future. A planter is a mechanism which performs precision seeding. Design of a planter in the optimum manner that needs minimum draft force when attached to a mobile robot, was the main objective of this work. A planter was developed, fabricated and tested in the course of a research project.
The main motivation for this research is the fact that a mobile robot, is an electric powered vehicle with limited power and pulling force. Thus, a customized planter with a customized connection mechanism should be designed that can be pulled by mobile robot. The developed planter should have the same efficiency as the existing planters in seeding.
To study the interaction between soil engagement tool (disc coulter) and soil, experiments were performed in the Linear Soil Bin. Different parameters of the disc coulter were changed and the draft force, vertical force and side force were measured. The results of the experiments were used to find the optimum parameters of the disc that caused minimum draft force. A novel planter was designed and fabricated; it was attached to a mobile robot, and field tested. Tests performed in outdoor and indoor settings showed satisfactory results. Draft force developed on the planter was close to analytical value and performance of the planter in other aspects was as expected.