Industrial Electronics

Gardening robot works autonomously to trim bushes and trees

28 October 2019
Trimbot moves to trim a bush on a garden. Source: University of Edinburgh

Researchers have developed a new gardening robot that can self-navigate and autonomously prune vegetation such as roses and trim bushes.

The robot, called Trimbot, was developed by the University of Edinburgh to support farmers and help people with mobility issues tend to gardens.

The robot uses 3D computer vision with five pairs of cameras and uses a flexible robotic arm that houses an automated lawnmower blade made by Bosch.

Because Trimbot is battery powered, it can be pre-programmed with a routine to tend to trees and bushes that need attention with the 3D cameras allowing it to know its surroundings to find the specific tasks needed by a farmer or homeowner.

"Getting the robot to work reliably in a real garden was a major feat of engineering,” said Bob Fisher, processor of the University of Edinburgh's School of Informatics. “The eight partner teams developed new robotics and 3D computer vision technology to enable it to work outdoors in changing lighting and environmental conditions."

Algorithms were created to give the robot the ability to compare overgrown bushes with the trimmed shapes in order to give it a pattern to follow. For each plant, the robot then uses different tools for each plant to cut or trim it based on the patterns it receives.

Edinburgh researchers believe this type of robot could be used for a range of automated lawnmowers and other types of equipment use for outdoor agriculture.

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