GreenPatrol Project conducts a study to test the actual performance of different navigation sensors

Researchers from the GreenPatrol team have conducted a real-world study to determine as accurately as possible what types of navigation sensors are best suited for incorporation into its prototype. The project aims to develop an autonomous robotic solution that optimises the integrated pest control in greenhouses.

The test has been carried out in a greenhouse where there are some of the factors that will condition the behaviour of the future robot. Aspects such as the size of the plants, the blocking zones or the different materials used in the ceilings have a direct impact on the quality of the satellite navigation signal (GNSS) and are, therefore, essential for the correct operation of the project.

During the tests, several different GNSS receivers were installed; each one with a different performance. Researchers have thus been able to collect essential data to optimise the process of defining the architecture of the robotic solution. The GreenPatrol initiative is based on the distinctive characteristics of Galileo as opposed to GPS, which will be decisive in an environment such as a greenhouse, where signal quality is affected by different obstacles such as ceilings or the plants themselves.

GreenPatrol Project is a project, linked to the H2020 Framework Programme, which has a 2.4 million euro budget from the GSA (Global Navigation Satellite System Agency) through the European H2020 Innovation and Research Programme under Grant Agreement 776324.

The CTC Technology Centre coordinates this research in which Tekniker Foundation, Inkoa Sistemas SL, the Czech Mendelova Univerzita V Brne University, the English company Nottingham Scientific Ltd and the Dutch company Aerovision Bv. also participate.

The research will contribute to overcoming some of the challenges agriculture faces in Europe. Today, the challenge is to produce “more with less”. Projects such as this one related to precision agriculture respond to the particular need of increasing productivity to cope with the equation posed by population growth and the reduction of dedicated areas of cultivation.

The GreenPatrol Project team is currently processing this information, conducting a comparative study and evaluating which features best meet the project’s technical requirements. This information will be used to select the robot’s sensor for later integration and to generate the prototype.

The project, which is due to be completed by 30 April 2020, also includes a validation phase in which the prototype will be tested in a real environment. In this way, the TRL7 or level of maturity of development sufficient to eliminate engineering and manufacturing risks would be reached.