In-Field Route Planning Optimisation and Performance Indicators of Grain Harvest Operations

Michael Nørremark*, Rene Søndergaard Nilsson, Claus Grøn Sørensen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Operational planning, automation, and optimisation of field operations are ways to sustain the production of food and feed. A coverage path planning method mitigating the optimisation and automation of harvest operations, characterised by capacity limitations and features derived from real world scenarios, is presented. Although prior research has developed similar methods, no such methodologies have been developed for (i) multiple field entrances as line segments, (ii) the feasibility of stationary and on-the-go unloading in the headland and main field, (iii) unloading timing independent of the full bin level of the harvester, and (iv) the transport unit operational time outside the field. To find the permutation that best minimises the costs in time and distance, an artificial bee colony (ABC) algorithm was used as a meta-heuristic optimisation method. The effectiveness of the method was analysed by generating simulated operational data and by comparing it to recorded data from seven fields ranging in size (5–26 ha) and shape. The implementation of controlled traffic farming (CTF) in the coverage path planning method, but not with the recorded data, resulted in a reduced risk of soil compaction of up to 25%, and a reduction in the in-field total travel distance of up to 15% when logistics was optimised simultaneously for two transport units. A 68% increase in the full load frequency of transporting vehicles and a 14% reduction in the total number of field to storage transports was observed. For fields located at outermost edges of the storage facility (>5 km), the increase in full load frequency, average load level, and decrease in in-field travel distance resulted in a reduction in fuel consumption by 7%. Embedding the developed coverage path planning software as a service will improve the sustainability of harvest operations including a fleet of one to many harvesting and transporting units, as the system in front of the vehicle operator calculates and displays all required actions from the operator.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1151
JournalAgronomy
Volume12
Issue5
Number of pages22
ISSN2073-4395
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 May 2022

Keywords

  • agricultural field operations optimisation
  • artificial bee colony
  • capacitated arc routing problem
  • coverage path planning
  • fleet management

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