Rostselmash Successfully Completes Trials of an Unmanned Combine based on Machine Vision Technology
Settlement of Besserguenevskaya, Rostov Province - Another round of trials has been completed on an unmanned combine developed by Rostselmash. This time the machine was tested in the “windrowing’ operation in totally unmanned conditions, with the field boundaries pre-set. In this instance, the primary system is the machine vision system - the combine literally sees the windrow and follows its contour while avoiding collision with possible obstacles. The high-precision navigation system has a secondary function and gets involved in operations where machine vision is not enough (e.g. during headland turns).
Most manufacturers give preference to one particular set of sensors when developing automatic guidance systems (be it machine vision, high-precision navigation, lidars or whatever). This narrows their application limiting it to some of the agricultural tasks only where the sensors picked will show their best. For instance, machine vision technologies will be more suitable for windrow picking or collision avoidance, but the traditional method of harvesting of eared crops will best be managed by the high-precision navigation technology (RTK) providing the best precision. Also, RTK makes turns and U-turns precisely.
Therefore, a hybrid control system on the Rostselmash’s unmanned machine is adapted to any conditions and harvest techniques. Thanks to a combination of precise satellite navigation and computer vision technologies the combine knows the field boundaries, maintains the path to 2.5cm, sees the windrow and detects obstacles. By the way, the Rostselmash’s unmanned combine will stop well short of any obstacle there in the path, with such obstacle being recorded and its picture sent to the remote operator by the system.
The windrowing trials have been running at Besserguenevskoye farm for two months already. All this time both the testers and the designers have been assured of the advantages offered by the Rostselmash’s hybrid auto-steering system that will shortly be available for pre-order.