16 May 2017 Vineyard management in virtual reality: autonomous control of a transformable drone
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Abstract
Grape vines are susceptible to many diseases. Routine scouting is critically important to keep vineyards in healthy condition. Currently, scouting relies on experienced farm workers to inspect acres of land while arduously filling out reports to document crop health conditions. This process is both labor and time consuming. Using drones to assist farm workers in scouting has great potential to improve the efficiency of vineyard management. Due to the complexity in grape farm disease detection, the drones are normally used to detect suspicious areas to help farm workers to prioritize scouting activities. Operations still rely heavily on humans for further inspection to be certain about the health conditions of the vines. This paper introduces an autonomous transition flight control method for a transformable drone, which is suitable for the future virtual presence of humans in further inspecting suspicious areas. The transformable drone adopts a tilt-rotor mechanism to automatically switch between hover and horizontal flight modes, following commands from virtual reality devices held in the ground control station. The conceptual design and transformation dynamics of the drone will be first discussed, followed by a model predictive control system developed to automatically control the transition flight. Simulation is also provided to show the effectiveness of the proposed control system.
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H. Griffiths, H. Shen, N. Li, S. Rojas, N. Perkins, M. Liu, "Vineyard management in virtual reality: autonomous control of a transformable drone", Proc. SPIE 10218, Autonomous Air and Ground Sensing Systems for Agricultural Optimization and Phenotyping II, 102180F (16 May 2017); doi: 10.1117/12.2267726; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2267726
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