Development of the reconfigurable data acquisition vehicle for bio-energy crop sensing and management

Yonghua Xiong, Lei Tian, Tofael Ahamed, Bin Zhao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this article, the development of the Reconfigurable Data Acquisition Vehicle (R-DAV) that has a high performance as a wheeled mobile robot is presented. The R-DAV is designed to monitor and manage the growing status of bio-energy crops, and the vehicle will be used for image collection, density measurements, and chemical applications. A theoretical model has been proposed to optimize the configuration. The 4-Wheel-Drive-4-Wheel-Steering (4WD4WS) locomotion was proposed as the essential base for high traffic conditions and maneuverability, and a prototype model was fabricated for this scenario. The chassis was uniquely reconfigured in two ways: (1) by adjusting the clearance and (2) by changing the wheel gauge. The reconfiguration of the clearance was necessary to operate the vehicle over a range of heights of bio-energy crops at different growing stages in the Miscanthus (Miscanthus is a genus of about 15 species of perennial grasses native to subtropical and tropical regions of Africa and southern Asia). The adjustable wheel gauge layout was designed to follow variable inter-row tracks in the Miscanthus field. Furthermore, a triangle-shaped guard was specifically considered to minimize the crop damage when the vehicle enters into the field.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number015001
JournalJournal of Mechanical Design, Transactions Of the ASME
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 12 2012


  • finite element analysis
  • ground truth
  • locomotion
  • remote sensing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
  • Computer Science Applications


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