FTE-32806 Automation for Bio-production


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Course coordinator(s)prof. dr. ir. EJ van Henten
Lecturer(s)prof. dr. ir. EJ van Henten
dr. ir. LG van Willigenburg
ing. SK Blaauw
dr. ir. JMM IJsselmuiden
MSc BA Vroegindeweij
Examiner(s)prof. dr. ir. EJ van Henten
dr. ir. LG van Willigenburg

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

BCT-22306 Sensor Technology; INF-22306 Programming in Python.


Agriculture is challenged to overcome increasing labour costs, decreasing availability of labour and increasing demands concerning precision, product quality and reduction of environmental and animal load. As can be seen in Western Europe an important solution is to replace human labour by automation in areas such as arable farming, livestock farming, and horticulture. Examples of automation are milking robots, GPS steering of tractors, autonomous vehicles and automated harvesting in greenhouse production. The design and implementation of such automated systems is expected to be at the heart of agricultural innovation the next decades.
The guideline for this course is taken from the robotics domain and is stated as: 'Robotics is the intelligent transformation of perception into mechanical action'. To realize these transformations sensors, actuators, manipulators, vehicles, computers and decision systems, are important components. These components and how they may be applied to design automated agricultural systems constitute the contents of this course.
The theoretical part of this course will be presented during lectures. Practical assignments concern the design, programming and control of a robot manipulator and an autonomous vehicle.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of the course students are expected to be able to:
- describe the main driving forces for automation in agriculture;
- appoint and explain the function of the components of a robotic system;
- apply commonly used robot coordinate transformations in a 2D and 3D space;
- derive mathematical models of simple mobile platforms;
- calculate and analyse the effect of vehicle structure, wheel configuration and steering principles on the kinematic behaviour of a mobile platform;
- derive mathematical models for the forward and inverse kinematics of simple manipulator structures;
- analyse the effect of links and joints on the kinematic behaviour of a manipulator;
- list sensors commonly used for robots and automation, specify their characteristics, and select a proper sensor for a given application;
- apply simple control and motion planning techniques for vehicles and manipulators;
- simulate and program a small autonomous vehicle as well as a 5DOF manipulator.


- practicals.


- written exam (closed book exam with open questions) (60% of final grade);
- group assignment (40% of final grade).

Restricted Optional for: MBEBiosystems EngineeringMSc6AF