Title page for ETD etd-10122012-161838

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Murray, Kevin Hugh
Author's Email Address murr@vt.edu
URN etd-10122012-161838
Title An Optical Resection Local Positioning System for an Autonomous Agriculture Vehicle
Degree Master of Science
Department Mechanical Engineering
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Wicks, Alfred L. Committee Chair
Bird, John Committee Member
Meehan, Kathleen Committee Member
  • positioning system
  • autonomous agriculture
  • precision agriculture
  • optical
  • resection
Date of Defense 2012-09-28
Availability unrestricted
Obtaining accurate and precise position information is critical in precision and autonomous agriculture. Systems accurate to the centimeter-level are available, but may be prohibitively expensive for relatively small farms and tasks that involve multiple vehicles. Optical resection is proposed as a potentially more cost-effective and scalable positioning system for such cases.

The proposed system involves the placement of optical beacons at known locations throughout the environment and the use of cameras on the vehicle to detect the apparent angles between beacons. The position of the vehicle can be calculated with resection when three or four beacons are identified. In addition, the system provides precise orientation information, so a separate inertial measurement unit is not required. The system is seen as potentially cost-effective by taking advantage of the precision and low cost of digital image sensors. Whereas the components in other positioning systems tend to be more specialized, the widespread consumer demand for inexpensive and high quality cameras has allowed for billions of dollars of research and development to be spread across billions of image sensors.

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