Development of Mechatronics-based Self-propelled Intra-Row Weeder

Jyoti Lahre *

Department of Farm Machinery and Power Engineering, College of Agricultural Engineering and Post Harvest Technology, Ranipool, 737135, East Sikkim, Sikkim, India.

S. K. Satpathy

Department of Farm Machinery and Power Engineering, College of Agricultural Engineering and Post Harvest Technology, Ranipool, 737135, East Sikkim, Sikkim, India.

Bhavesh Sukdeve

Department of Farm Machinery and Power Engineering, College of Agricultural Engineering and Post Harvest Technology, Ranipool, 737135, East Sikkim, Sikkim, India.

Utkarsh Dwivedi

Department of Farm Machinery and Power Engineering, College of Agricultural Engineering and Post Harvest Technology, Ranipool, 737135, East Sikkim, Sikkim, India.

Bharath Kumar Komatineni

Department of Farm Machinery and Power Engineering, College of Agricultural Engineering and Post Harvest Technology, Ranipool, 737135, East Sikkim, Sikkim, India.

*Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.


Abstract

Background: This research presents a significant stride in precision agriculture, focusing on the development and field evaluation of a self-propelled intra-row weeder engineered using mechatronics and machine learning. The study was motivated by the need for labor-efficient and environmentally friendly weed control methods, as conventional techniques pose various challenges.

Methodology: The intra-row weeder, equipped with a crop detection and avoidance system, was developed using a sensor, servo motor, encoder, weeding tool, and a microprocessor (Arduino Uno). A crop detection and avoidance algorithm, based on the K-nearest neighbor machine learning tool, was developed and trained using a customized feature method. This facilitated the system’s ability to accurately distinguish between plants and crops, a distinction that was programmed based on object height. This approach proved effective under the various conditions.

Results: Field performance evaluation of the weeder was conducted at different forward speeds and plant-to-plant spacing. The results revealed strong correlations between operating parameters and responses such as plant damage, weeding efficiency, performance index, and field efficiency, with R² values ranging from 67.87% to 83.61%. Optimal performance was achieved at a forward speed of 2.5 km∙h-1 and plant spacing of 60 cm, yielding a field capacity of 0.041 ha.h-1 and field efficiency of 86.25%. This study, therefore, provides a less labor-intensive solution for weed management in precision agriculture, paving the way for future innovations in the sector.

Keywords: Field evaluation, food security, intra row weeder


How to Cite

Lahre, Jyoti, S. K. Satpathy, Bhavesh Sukdeve, Utkarsh Dwivedi, and Bharath Kumar Komatineni. 2024. “Development of Mechatronics-Based Self-Propelled Intra-Row Weeder”. Journal of Experimental Agriculture International 46 (7):497-516. https://doi.org/10.9734/jeai/2024/v46i72603.

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