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Systems and methods for autonomously controlling agricultural machinery

United States Patent

July 8, 2003
View the Complete Patent at the US Patent & Trademark Office
Idaho National Laboratory - Visit the Technology Transfer and Commercialization Office Website
Systems and methods for autonomously controlling agricultural machinery such as a grain combine. The operation components of a combine that function to harvest the grain have characteristics that are measured by sensors. For example, the combine speed, the fan speed, and the like can be measured. An important sensor is the grain loss sensor, which may be used to quantify the amount of grain expelled out of the combine. The grain loss sensor utilizes the fluorescence properties of the grain kernels and the plant residue to identify when the expelled plant material contains grain kernels. The sensor data, in combination with historical and current data stored in a database, is used to identify optimum operating conditions that will result in increased crop yield. After the optimum operating conditions are identified, an on-board computer can generate control signals that will adjust the operation of the components identified in the optimum operating conditions. The changes result in less grain loss and improved grain yield. Also, because new data is continually generated by the sensor, the system has the ability to continually learn such that the efficiency of the agricultural machinery is continually improved.
Hoskinson; Reed L. (Rigby, ID), Bingham; Dennis N. (Idaho Falls, ID), Svoboda; John M. (Idaho Falls, ID), Hess; J. Richard (Idaho Falls, ID)
Bechtel BWXT Idaho, LLC (Idaho Falls, ID)
09/ 666,244
September 21, 2000
CONTRACTUAL ORIGIN OF THE INVENTION This invention was made with United States Government support under Contract No. DE-AC07-94ID13223, now Contract No. DE-AC07-99ID13727 awarded by the United States Department of Energy. The United States Government has certain rights in the invention.