A low cost, modular robotics tool carrier for precision agriculture research

Kjeld Jensen, Søren Hundevadt Nielsen, Anders Bøgild, Ole Juul Jørgensen, Claes Lund Jæger-Hansen, Niels Jul Jacobsen, Rasmus Nyholm Jørgensen

Research output: Contribution to conference without publisher/journalPaperResearch


Current research within agricultural crop production focus on using
autonomous robot technology to optimize the production efficiency, enhance
sustainability and minimize tedious, monotonous and wearing tasks. But progress
is slow partly because of the lack of flexible and low cost robotic platforms
suitable for research within precision agriculture.
This paper presents Armadillo, a $50k field robotic tool carrier with a modular
design which makes the robot configurable and adaptable to a wide range of
precision agriculture research projects. Armadillo weighs around 425 kg and
consists of two 18x80 cm footprint track modules each with an integrated 3.5 kW
electric motor, gear and motor controller. The track modules are mounted on
the side of an exchangeable tool platform which allows an adjustable width and
clearing height of the robot. The 48 V lithium power pack lasts 10 hours of
Armadillos industrial grade Linux based FroboBox computer runs the
FroboMind architecture which is based on the Robot Operating System (ROS) by
Willow Garage. FroboMind is a novel generic architecture that has been
implemented and successfully tested on different field robots. It has been
developed for research within precision agriculture and the design is highly
modular in order to optimize with respect to extensibility, scalability, short
development time and code reuse. All FroboMind software components used for
the Armadillo robot are released as open-source.
A prototype of Armadillo has been developed and tested as part of ongoing
research projects within sustainable and organic weeding in row crops and
orchards. Based on the experiences obtained, the first public version of Armadillo
has been constructed and delivered to the University of Hohenheim, Germany.
Current activities focus on further improving the Armadillo hardware and
software and application to new research projects.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date15. Jul 2012
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 15. Jul 2012
EventInternational Conference on Precision Agriculture - Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
Duration: 15. Jul 201218. Jul 2013
Conference number: 11


ConferenceInternational Conference on Precision Agriculture
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityIndianapolis, Indiana


  • Field robot
  • precision agriculture
  • FroboMind
  • ROS


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