Upgrading a Robot for Multicropping Horticulture with a Smart Energy Management System.
Hortobot is a robotic system designed for the automatic management of a multi-crop field featuring horticultural plants, aromatic herbs and flowers. In its basic version, the robot operates within a single lane and it is always connected to the power mains through a cable reel. Among the enhancements currently under evaluation there is giving the Robot the capability to move to adjacent fields, thereby relying on onboard batteries as the source of energy. In this presentation we describe a system based on rechargeable batteries and photovoltaic panels, with an intelligent energy management software that is supported by sensors for detecting some useful environmental parameters. The primary factors influencing energy consumption are then identified with suitable strategies to mitigate power usage, and some considerations related to the economic viability of these technical solutions are reported.