3 February 2014 3D vision system for intelligent milking robot automation
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In a milking robot, the correct localization and positioning of milking teat cups is of very high importance. The milking robots technology has not changed since a decade and is based primarily on laser profiles for teats approximate positions estimation. This technology has reached its limit and does not allow optimal positioning of the milking cups. Also, in the presence of occlusions, the milking robot fails to milk the cow. These problems, have economic consequences for producers and animal health (e.g. development of mastitis). To overcome the limitations of current robots, we have developed a new system based on 3D vision, capable of efficiently positioning the milking cups. A prototype of an intelligent robot system based on 3D vision for real-time positioning of a milking robot has been built and tested under various conditions on a synthetic udder model (in static and moving scenarios). Experimental tests, were performed using 3D Time-Of-Flight (TOF) and RGBD cameras. The proposed algorithms permit the online segmentation of teats by combing 2D and 3D visual information. The obtained results permit the teat 3D position computation. This information is then sent to the milking robot for teat cups positioning. The vision system has a real-time performance and monitors the optimal positioning of the cups even in the presence of motion. The obtained results, with both TOF and RGBD cameras, show the good performance of the proposed system. The best performance was obtained with RGBD cameras. This latter technology will be used in future real life experimental tests.
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M. A. Akhloufi, M. A. Akhloufi, "3D vision system for intelligent milking robot automation", Proc. SPIE 9025, Intelligent Robots and Computer Vision XXXI: Algorithms and Techniques, 90250N (3 February 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2046072; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2046072


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