Assessing the environmental and economic sustainability of autonomous systems: A case study in the agricultural industry

Michael Saidani, Erik Pan, Harrison Kim, Andrew Greenlee, Jason Wattonville, Bernard Yannou, Yann Leroy, François Cluzel

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

Abstract

While autonomous machines are considered as a new opportunity to augment safety, reliability, productivity, and efficiency, the actual environmental and economic sustainability performances of many autonomous systems remain yet to be quantified. The present research aims to fill part of this gap by evaluating the life cycle impact and cost of autonomous solutions in the agricultural industry. Comparative life cycle assessment (LCA) and life cycle costing (LCC) are carried out on a real-world case study putting in parallel a robotic electric lawn mower (autonomous solution) and conventional - gasoline- and electricity-powered - pushing mowers (human-operated counterparts). Results are interpreted in terms of global warming potential and total cost of ownership. While the autonomous system already appears to be a promising sustainable alternative, discussions and quantitative insights are also provided on the conditions that would lead to further environmental savings and economic profit for this autonomous solution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)209-214
Number of pages6
JournalProcedia CIRP
Volume90
DOIs
StatePublished - 2020
Event27th CIRP Life Cycle Engineering Conference, LCE 2020 - Grenoble, France
Duration: May 13 2020May 15 2020

Keywords

  • Autonomous systems
  • Case study
  • Comparative life cycle assessment
  • Environmental sustainability performance
  • Sustainable automation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

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