For several years, Lviv Polytechnic has been conducting research related to the use of mobile robots in various spheres of human activity, focusing on the development of effective structures, methods of their manufacture, and effective application algorithms.
As new technologies penetrate into all areas of human activity, reducing the overall costs of the process and preparation of products, one of the fields of robot use is agriculture. The share of digital and cybernetic technologies in the agricultural sector of Ukraine is currently quite low – about 10–12%, so there are wide prospects for their implementation.
Roman Zinko, Doctor of Technical Sciences, Professor at the Department of Equipment Design and Operation tells:
─ To date, there have been created 11 types of mock-up, experimental, experimental mobile robotics platforms, and complexes of their modifications weighing from 15 to 200 kg. All designs take into account the specifics of use. For example, monitoring the ripening of wheat requires certain design peculiarities, and a mobile robot for transporting crops from the field has completely different requirements. Our machines can currently be controlled remotely, using remote controls. Over time, we plan to improve them with artificial intelligence systems. This means that if the machine is moving several hundred meters away from the operator and there is an obstacle in its path, then standard procedures should be set in the software so that the robot can work even when communication is lost. And the use of several machines in a complex requires completely different approaches.
For many years Professor Zinko and his students have been actively developing such projects – until recently at the Department of Automotive Engineering, and now, after its reorganization, at the Department of Equipment Design and Operation.
Dmytro Roman, a third-year student, worked on the analysis of information, the determination of the necessary test areas, as well as the creation of test cycles. He searched for and analyzed general information, taking into account the methods of testing units and systems of machines and superimposing them on information about landfills.
In order to create and test works of the appropriate level, it is often necessary to cooperate with other University Departments. For example, IARD students Marta Zinko and Liuba Cherkun were involved in the testing of the latest developments. They designed a training ground containing a number of test areas adapted for the study of small mobile machines, created test areas and their attachment to the real territory. At the same time, the peculiarities of these areas (characteristics), their placement in the test cycle were taken into account.
Areas with sandy and soil surfaces have been created on the training ground, moving over rails and on a side slope, ascent-descent, crossing a trench are simulated. The intended movement across the bridge is a simulation of radio interference for testing the radio and video channels of mobile robots.
The peculiarity of this training ground, which, by the way, will be used in the educational discipline «Testing of vehicles», is its compactness, versatility and miniatureness. Research will be conducted for small models of vehicles, mobile robots and their mockups. The obtained data for similar machines, based on the theory of similarity, will be distributed.