6 Feb 2011 cultibot   » (Observer)

a compromise between rails and walking directly on the ground

If the area to be covered by a farmbot is known, and limited, it might be tempting to outfit the land with rails and the machine with wheels to match, to keep the weight of the machine off the soil and improve its mobility, but in areas where production is constrained by low precipitation or short growing seasons this could prove uneconomic.

A possible compromise solution would be to use long, spider-like legs to span between the tops of posts, a foot or two above the soil surface, or even just low mounds of gravel. Providing this much infrastructure would not only prevent tracking and compression of the soil over most of the area, but it would help the machine locate itself in the field, since the posts or mounds would have known, static locations.

While such machines might move more slowly than if they were equipped with wheels running on rail, the logistics of having several working the same field would be simpler, since they could just walk around each other.

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