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A Robotic Prototype for Spraying and Pollinating Date Palm Trees

[+] Author Affiliations
Amir Shapiro, Eran Korkidi, Amit Rotenberg, Gilad Furst, Harel Namdar, Barak Sapir, Maor Mishkin, Ohad Ben-Shahar, Yael Edan

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel

Paper No. ESDA2008-59208, pp. 431-436; 6 pages
  • ASME 2008 9th Biennial Conference on Engineering Systems Design and Analysis
  • Volume 4: Fatigue and Fracture; Fluids Engineering; Heat Transfer; Mechatronics; Micro and Nano Technology; Optical Engineering; Robotics; Systems Engineering; Industrial Applications
  • Haifa, Israel, July 7–9, 2008
  • Conference Sponsors: International
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4838-8 | eISBN: 0-7918-3827-7
  • Copyright © 2008 by ASME


Spraying and pollinating date palm trees is currently done manually by a team of three workers from a platform lifted 18 meters or more above the ground. This method is extremely unsafe and many accidents have happened due to lack of stability when the platform is in a lifted position. Alternatively, date clusters are occasionally sprayed by a large pressurized sprayer directly from the ground, a method that is highly unselective and environmentally harmful. In this paper we present the concept of an automatic apparatus that can effectively and accurately spray and pollinate date clusters from a robotic apparatus mounted to a standard tractor operated by a single driver. The apparatus consists of a robotic arm and computer controlled sprayer, guided by a computer vision system that detects and localizes date clusters with a camera. This system will minimize risk of injury, significantly save manpower (from three to one person per team), and deliver the spray with maximum accuracy thereby reducing chemical disposure. A small scaled prototype has been built and is currently under preliminary experiments.

Copyright © 2008 by ASME



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