soil mapping Archives - Agri-EPI Centre

Tag Archive for: soil mapping

Robotriks RTU v4. Light Agricultural Robot

Key benefits:

• Fully electric
• Lightweight for low damage

• Simple pre-planned autonomy with object detection
• High-level autonomy with ROS compatibility

• Open architecture for adding new sensors and end effectors

• Interchangeable truss frame for multiple scenarios

Agri-EPI is excited to have invested in the Robotriks RTU v4. Light Agricultural Robot. Designed as an adaptable autonomous agricultural platform, this robot aids in developing agri-robotics components. It is fully open for developers to test their new technologies in the field without needing to develop their own robotic platform. This capability will help open the doors for a vast range of novel agricultural systems which maximise the benefit offered by robotics.

As a lightweight agricultural robot, the RTU represents a new approach to the farming cycle. Rather than having the size and power to pull up an entire field, light robots can conduct per-plant farming operations with minimum soil damage, maximising yields whilst minimising environmental impact.

Agri-EPIs RTU fleet have three control methods available depending on the need of the developer. At its simplest, the units can be manually controlled using an intuitive remote-control system. As a middle ground, they include an advanced autopilot system meaning the robots can drive themselves around using pre-planned routes with collision avoidance. Finally, the systems also include a powerful on-board computer running ROS, which has been configured to send control commands allowing intelligent autonomy to be quickly integrated.

These robots have also had a range of sensors integrated with them to allow for high level autonomy, mapping and collision avoidance. This includes RTK-GNSS for initial localisation, a Velodyne LiDAR for 3D point mapping and front and rear facing ZED 3D cameras for local obstacle detection.

Built almost entirely out of aluminium with mounting surfaces on the top, front and rear of the traction units, the RTU was built to last when out in the
elements. Featuring a low centre of mass and a wide footprint thanks to its tracked design, the RTU can drive in any orientation on surfaces up to a 54-degree incline.

Connecting the traction units is a truss frame made entirely out of 48.3mm scaffolding pipes. By using such a standard material, it means the robot becomes very easy to configure for multiple agricultural scenarios. If a wide wheelbase is needed to cover more rows or tall frame to navigate vineyards, the truss can be simply adjusted to the requirement. With this flexibility it also broadens the realm of modularity.

These robots have been created for the needs of Agri-EPI Centre and our partners as a highly flexible and modular platform and will be gradually improved over time as a collaboration between ourselves and the manufacturer.

For information on renting out our technical assets please contact

‘Affordable’ precision soil map takes off following UK agri-tech partnership

A collaborative project to help farmers and landowners make a more affordable entry into precision farming has resulted in the commercial success of a high-tech soil mapping service.

Precision agriculture company RHIZA is now offering an affordable precision soil mapping service utilising satellite data which was developed as a result of their Innovate UK-funded research project involving AgSpace, Agri-EPI Centre, Cranfield University and James Hutton Institute (JHI).

The two-year project joined high resolution satellite data together with the UK’s most comprehensive soil datasets from Cranfield and JHI to produce a new ‘precision soil map’, an economically viable alternative to the traditional, labour intensive method of field soil surveys.

Since the project concluded in August 2018, RHIZA has developed a commercially available product which it says can cost farmers up to 50% less than traditional soil mapping.

Max Dafforn, RHIZA Business Manager, said:

“The precision soil mapping service has really taken off: it is now providing data on around 800,000 ha of farmland across the UK, helping growers to increase yields with lower input costs and reduced environmental impact.”

Dave Ross, Chief Executive of Agri-EPI Centre said:

“Our aim in collaborating with academic and commercial partners is ultimately to see greater uptake of precision agriculture technologies which deliver benefits for productivity in farming and food production. The results of the project tick all the boxes in this regard and we’re proud to have been involved the development of the precision soil map as a commercially viable product.”

Keep up to date with the latest impact and results of our work, plus, news, innovation and approaches across the sector. Read our latest news and Agri-EPI blogs.

Tag Archive for: soil mapping