Robot Soil Interaction Evaluation in Agriculture

The RoBivaL project will compare different robot locomotion concepts from space research and agricultural applications on the basis of experiments conducted under agricultural conditions. The knowledge gained in the process is intended to promote a transfer of technology and knowledge between space research and agricultural research. To further strengthen this, the recorded experiment data will be stored and made available for future research in a standardized experiment database that is being developed within the framework of RoBivaL.

Duration: 01.08.2021 till 31.10.2023
Donee: German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence GmbH
Sponsor: Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action
Grant number: 50RP2150
Partner: Hochschule Osnabr├╝ck
Application Field: Agricultural Robotics
Space Robotics
Related Projects: NFDI4Ing
National Research Data Infrastructure for Engineering Sciences (10.2020- 09.2025)
Related Robots: ARTEMIS
DLR SpaceBot Cup 2013 Rover

Project details

Mobile robots are increasingly being used in agriculture, for example, to detect and eliminate specific pests without unnecessarily polluting the environment through large-scale use of pesticides and herbicides. One criterion for the use of robotic systems in agriculture is that the plantable area is maximized and that the robots are minimally invasive to the soil in their locomotion. In the RoBivaL project, different robot locomotion concepts from space research and agricultural applications will be compared using experiments conducted under agricultural conditions.
Four robot systems will be used in the experiments, two of which (Artemis & SherpaTT) have their origin in futuristic space applications and two others (Naio Oz & BoniRob) have been developed specifically for the agricultural sector.
The exact evaluation criteria will be determined in the course of the project, with the help of workshops involving experts from both application fields to identify and address the aspects specifically relevant to agriculture.
In order to further promote interdisciplinary exchange, the recorded experimental data will be made available for future research work.For this purpose, a standardized log and experiment database will be developed and operated, which will allow easy access to the collected data for further processing.
In subsequent ventures, the data could be used, for example, to make predictions about subsurface conditions, which in turn could be taken into account in mission and path planning, or to adjust controller parameters or locomotion behavior, which in turn would be of benefit to both space and agricultural robotics.


ARTEMIS: First test run with a penetrometer

The rover Artemis, developed at the DFKI Robotics Innovation Center, has been equipped with a penetrometer that measures the soil's penetration resistance to obtain precise information about soil strength. Such measurements allow for conclusions about the current soil condition, applicable in both agricultural settings and space exploration. The video showcases an initial test run with the device mounted on the robot. During this test, the robot was remotely controlled, and the maximum penetration depth was limited to 15 mm.

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last updated 04.01.2024