There is an acute shortage of human coconut tree climbers to harvest coconuts in India and other developing countries. The consequential diminished availability of skilled tree-climbers, to pass along the trade secrets to the succeeding generations, highlights the exigent need for an unmanned coconut-tree-climber as an alternative solution. This research presents Amaran, a novel robotic coconut tree climber and harvester. Amaran is comprised of a harvester with a distinctive robotic arm (RA) and a cutter, which can be attached to a ring-shaped frame that can be fastened to a coconut tree. Amaran can be controlled, through a wireless interface, either by an operator on the ground or via a smartphone-based app. Once dispositioned in the vicinity of the coconut bunch, the cutter is commanded to harvest the coconuts, by cutting the stem of the bunch attached to the tree. Verification of the Amaran robot's viability was confirmed by tests conducted on a coconut tree setup in the design lab. Subsequently, the design of the Amaran robot was validated by field tests in a coconut farm. In this paper, we discuss the design of the Amaran body and the harvester. Amaran's dexterity in climbing and harvesting coconuts can be challenged by height, circumference, and inclination of the tree. Experimental results show that Amaran can successfully climb trees up to 15.2 m tall, of circumferences ranging from 0.66 m to 0.92 m, and tree trunk inclinations of up to 30 degrees.
Rajesh Kannan Megalingam, S. Manoharan, K., Mohan, S. M., Vadivel, S. R. R., Gangireddy, R., Ghanta, S., Kotte, S., Perugupally, S. T., and Sivanantham, V., “Amaran: An Unmanned Robotic Coconut Tree Climber and Harvester”, IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics, pp. 1-1, 2020.