Robotic Harvesting of Fruiting Vegetables: A Simulation Approach in V-REP, ROS and MATLAB
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In modern agriculture, there is a high demand to move from tedious manual harvesting to a continuously automated operation. This chapter reports on designing a simulation and control platform in V-REP, ROS, and MATLAB for experimenting with sensors and manipulators in robotic harvesting of sweet pepper. The objective was to provide a completely simulated environment for improvement of visual servoing task through easy testing and debugging of control algorithms with zero damage risk to the real robot and to the actual equipment. A simulated workspace, including an exact replica of different robot manipulators, sensing mechanisms, and sweet pepper plant, and fruit system was created in V-REP. Image moment method visual servoing with eye-in-hand configuration was implemented in MATLAB, and was tested on four robotic platforms including Fanuc LR Mate 200iD, NOVABOT, multiple linear actuators, and multiple SCARA arms. Data from simulation experiments were used as inputs of the control algorithm in MATLAB, whose outputs were sent back to the simulated workspace and to the actual robots. ROS was used for exchanging data between the simulated environment and the real workspace via its publishand-subscribe architecture. Results provided a framework for experimenting with different sensing and acting scenarios, and verified the performance functionality of the simulator.