Robotic Lime Picking by Considering Leaves as Permeable Obstacles

Image credit: Heramb Nemlekar


The problem of robotic lime picking is challeng- ing; lime plants have dense foliage which makes it difficult for a robotic arm to grasp a lime without coming in contact with leaves. Existing approaches either do not consider leaves, or treat them as obstacles and completely avoid them, often resulting in undesirable or infeasible plans. We focus on reaching a lime in the presence of dense foliage by considering the leaves of a plant as permeable obstacles with a collision cost. We then adapt the rapidly exploring random tree star (RRT*) algorithm for the problem of fruit harvesting by incorporating the cost of collision with leaves into the path cost. To reduce the time required for finding low cost paths to goal, we bias the growth of the tree using an artificial potential field (APF). We compare our proposed method with prior work in a 2-D environment and a 6-DOF robot simulation. Our experiments and a real-world demonstration on a robotic lime picking task demonstrate the applicability of our approach.

To appear in 2021 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems
Ziang Liu
Ziang Liu
Graduate Student