|Not a member? Sign up now!|
A University of Canterbury (UC) student has won the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Innovation (IEEE) award for his work on a grape vine cutting robot.
Samuel Corbett-Davies received the award for his final year electrical engineering project from the chair of the New Zealand south section of IEEE, Stuart Lansley. The award was made for the best final year electrical engineering project at UC.
As part of the automated vine-pruning project Corbett-Davies developed a system that took geometric information about a grapevine and determined the appropriate cut points to correctly trim the vine.
His work was part of a much larger project. The grape vine pruning robot project had been going on for two years before Corbett-Davies became involved.
``I applied to work on it for my final year project because it looked like a really exciting and challenging project. The robot will eventually prune rows of vines at walking pace. A private automation company plans to investigate mass producing the robot once we solve the more technical problems.
``My small part of the project was to design the robot's artificial intelligence. It was my job to make the robot prune vines the way a human expert would. There's still heaps more work to be done on the robot's vision system, so I used simulated models of vines in my project.
``I developed a system that 'learns' from examples of well-pruned vines, which were provided by Dr Val Saxton from Lincoln University. The decisions made by my system were compared to those made by a human with skill typical of vineyard workers. My system pruned a set of 100 vines significantly better than the human, which was a great result,’’ Corbett-Davies said.