Method and System for Vehicular Guidance Using a Crop Image

Reference Number: 06-24

Inventors: Jiantao Wei

Description:

There is a growing focus in agriculture today on the advancement of technologies which allow for more efficient tilling, planting, spraying and harvesting techniques. One such technology category that has recently emerged is that of vehicular guidance systems such as the GPS based guidance systems that are fairly commonplace on a lot of today’s agricultural equipment. Another such category of these systems which is believed to also be able to provide value to farmers is “vision” based systems. Vision systems commonly attempt to relate a vehicle’s respective position via confirmation of current crop images, allowing such visual cues as crop rows or cut/uncut edges to be used to guide the vehicle. Although a relatively simple concept, these systems require a highly developed computer system to operate appropriately and many current attempts at such systems have suffered from a real-time lag. Additionally, there may be errors in guidance based on variations within the crop or landscape. Taking into account these current issues, there remains a prominent need for a vision system that requires less computational demand, reacts in a more efficient time frame, and has better resistance to errors associated with crop irregularities.

Considering the above facts, researchers at Kansas State University have developed a new vehicular guidance system which collects color images of data in order to distinguish crop data from other background data. This system uses a definer to help characterize all of the scan lines that are obtained, and it also incorporates an intensity evaluator in order to determine scan line intensity. Additionally, the system also contains an alignment detector and a reliability estimator so that the vehicle’s heading can be reliably maintained and redirected based on readings obtained from the intensity evaluator.

Advantages:
  • Multiple detectors for accurate crop and landscape readings
  • Real time navigation of vehicle
  • Less errors due to using of color as opposed to flat images
Applications:
  • Tilling and harvesting of row crops (Corn, Sorghum, etc.)
  • Potential use for chemical applications on free standing row crops
Patent Status
  • US Patents 7,570,783; 7,580,549 issued in 2009 and US Patents 7,684,916; 7,792,622 issued in 2010; and US Application 11/342,760 filed in 2006.

Kansas State University Research Foundation seeks to have discussions with companies that are interested in licensing and/or research collaborations.

Interested parties should contact:

Kansas State University Institute for Commercialization (KSU-IC)
2005 Research Park Circle Manhattan, KS 66502
Tel: 785-532-3900 Fax: 785-532-3909
E-Mail: ic@k-state.edu