2. Advanced navigation

Task overview

For this task the robots are navigating autonomously. Under real field conditions, crop plant growth is not uniform. Furthermore, sometimes the crop rows are not even parallel. We will approach these field conditions in the second task.

The rules for entering the field, moving the robot, using remote controller etc. are the same as in task 1.

No large obstacles in the field, but more challenging terrain in comparison to task 1.

The robots shall achieve as much distance as possible within 3 minutes while navigating between straight rows of maize plants, but the robots have to follow a certain predefined path pattern across the field (picture 2 at the end of this text). Additionally at some locations, plants will be missing (gaps) at either one or both sides with a maximum length of 1 meter. There will be no gaps at row entries.

The robot must drive the paths in given order. The code of the path pattern through the maize field is done as follows: S means START, L means LEFT hand turn, R means RIGHT hand turn and F means FINISH. The number before the L or R represents the row that has to be entered after the turn. Therefore, 2L means: Enter the second row after a lefthand turn, 3R means: Enter the third row after a right hand turn. The code for a path pattern for example may be given as: S ‐ 3L ‐ 2L ‐ 2R ‐ 1R ‐ 5L ‐ F.

The code of the path pattern is made available to the competitors 15 minutes before putting all robots into the parc fermé. Therefore, the teams will not get the opportunity to test it in the contest field.

Field conditions

Random stones are placed along the path, to represent realistic field scenario where the robot should cope with holes etc. The stones are not exceeding the level of 35 mm from the average ground level in the neighborhood. The stones may be pebbles (diameter <35 mm) laid in the ground and large rocks that push (max 35 mm) out from the ground, both are installed. In other words, the robot must have ground clearance of this amplitude at minimum, and the robot must be able to climb over obstacles of max 35 mm high. No maize plants are intentionally missing in the end of the rows. However, due to circumstances of previous runs by other robots, it is possible that some plants in the end of the rows are damaged. The ends of the rows may not be in the same line, the maximum angle in the headland is ±15 degrees.

No large obstacles in the field and all rows are equally passable. A red 50 mm wide textile tape is laid in the field 2 m from the plants.

Assessment

The distance travelled in 3 minutes is measured. The final distance will be calculated including especially a bonus factor when the end of the field is reached in less time than 3 min. The final distance including a bonus factor is calculated as:
Final distance = corrected distance * 3 minutes / measured time.

The corrected distance includes travelled distance and the penalty values. Travelled distance, penalty values and performance time are measured by the jury officials.

Crop plant damage by the robot will result in a penalty of 1 meter per plant.

The task completing teams will be ranked by the results of resulting total distance values. The best 3 teams will be rewarded. This task 2, together with tasks 1, 3 and 4, contributes to the overall contest winner 2018. Points for the overall winner will be given as described under chapter 0.3 Awards.

Picture 2 shows an example of how the crop rows and the path tracks could look like for task 2. Be aware, the row gaps and the path pattern will be different during the contest!

Picture of dimensions and example (!) of row navigation pattern for task 2.
Picture 2 – Dimensions and example (!) of row navigation pattern for task 2.
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