Design of Highly Accurate Navigation Systems for Robotic Vehicles

Department: PhD in Electrical, Electronics and Communications Engineering
Founded by: St. Paul Company
Supervisor: Prof. Fabio Dovis
Candidate:  Neil Gogoi

The Navigation systems and the Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) positioning techniques, are a core element of automated robots and drones. Depending on the application the requirements for the navigation and positioning system may widely vary in term of accuracy, attitude control, dynamics, etc.

The more challenging is the application, the stricter will be such requirements, and flexibility of the navigation systems becomes an asset for multipurpose systems. Furthermore, complexity reduction and as a consequence, reduced weight and limited power needs, enable the implementation of light and smaller drones.

Among the several domains which can benefit of such drones and robots, precision agriculture is a challenging field towards which a growing attention is experienced. Precision agriculture is a management strategy of agriculture that uses modern instruments and is aimed at the execution of agronomic interventions taking into account the actual cultivation needs and the biochemical and physical characteristics of the soil.

Long‐spread on large crops utilizes technologies implemented on agricultural vehicles for assisted driving systems for tractors or combines, but also for georeferencing land sampling, field data harvesting or selective fertilization, utilizing knowledge of the location.

However, the development of precise positioning techniques (in the order of centimeter) based on satellites (Global Navigation Satellite Systems ‐ GNSS) such as GPS and Galileo, has opened new areas of application by making precision agriculture a ring of the production chain of Smart food, because of its ability to increase productivity and efficiency not only in large crops but also where soil conformation is more difficult, or valuable and valuable crops. Precision positioning, in synergy with advanced robotic technology, is identified as one of the most potential sectors for start‐up and high‐tech companies.

Smart agriculture welcomes this challenge by providing farmers with real‐time data and analyzes, maximizing food production by reducing costs and minimizing environmental impact. High accuracy of position detection is vital to increase efficiency and the selective application of fertilizers and pesticides.

On December 15, 2016, the European Commission (EC) formally announced the launch of the initial Galileo services, the European satellite navigation system. The European Commission’s “Market Report” GNSS Supervisory Authority (GSA), (March 2015), the GNSS receivers market for precision agriculture is expected to grow to € 2.3b by 2022 (considering only this segment of the market), from € 750m calculated in 2013. GNSS technologies that can meet these requirements are called Precise Point Positioning (PPP) and RTK (Real Time Kinematic), and still mainly use GPS and GLONASS, but can benefit greatly from the presence of the new Galileo constellation, thanks to the visibility of a larger number of satellites, potentially bringing the precision to the centimeter in almost real‐time.

 

The Navigation systems and the Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) positioning techniques, are a core element of automated robots and drones. Depending on the application the requirements for the navigation and positioning system may widely vary in term of accuracy, attitude control, dynamics, etc.

The more challenging is the application, the stricter will be such requirements, and flexibility of the navigation systems becomes an asset for multipurpose systems. Furthermore, complexity reduction and as a consequence, reduced weight and limited power needs, enable the implementation of light and smaller drones.

Among the several domains which can benefit of such drones and robots, precision agriculture is a challenging field towards which a growing attention is experienced. Precision agriculture is a management strategy of agriculture that uses modern instruments and is aimed at the execution of agronomic interventions taking into account the actual cultivation needs and the biochemical and physical characteristics of the soil.

Long‐spread on large crops utilizes technologies implemented on agricultural vehicles for assisted driving systems for tractors or combines, but also for georeferencing land sampling, field data harvesting or selective fertilization, utilizing knowledge of the location.

However, the development of precise positioning techniques (in the order of centimeter) based on satellites (Global Navigation Satellite Systems ‐ GNSS) such as GPS and Galileo, has opened new areas of application by making precision agriculture a ring of the production chain of Smart food, because of its ability to increase productivity and efficiency not only in large crops but also where soil conformation is more difficult, or valuable and valuable crops. Precision positioning, in synergy with advanced robotic technology, is identified as one of the most potential sectors for start‐up and high‐tech companies.

Smart agriculture welcomes this challenge by providing farmers with real‐time data and analyzes, maximizing food production by reducing costs and minimizing environmental impact. High accuracy of position detection is vital to increase efficiency and the selective application of fertilizers and pesticides.

On December 15, 2016, the European Commission (EC) formally announced the launch of the initial Galileo services, the European satellite navigation system. The European Commission’s “Market Report” GNSS Supervisory Authority (GSA), (March 2015), the GNSS receivers market for precision agriculture is expected to grow to € 2.3b by 2022 (considering only this segment of the market), from € 750m calculated in 2013. GNSS technologies that can meet these requirements are called Precise Point Positioning (PPP) and RTK (Real Time Kinematic), and still mainly use GPS and GLONASS, but can benefit greatly from the presence of the new Galileo constellation, thanks to the visibility of a larger number of satellites, potentially bringing the precision to the centimeter in almost real‐time.