Robotics Start-up Yields High Growth in the Agricultural Industry

The Back Story

A robotics start-up enlisted Boston Engineering to help develop a wheeled robot with grippers to perform automated material handling tasks in challenging agricultural environments. Importantly, the robot must operate safely alongside people and integrate easily into established facilities and processes.

The Strategy

To advance autonomous robotics capabilities, Boston Engineering developed a motor control system to provide high reliability and efficiency across multiple speeds and tasks (such as slight turns to pick up shrubs and other objects). The motion control project for the robot included:

  • A dual-axis control system for highly accurate and coordinated robot wheel movement (forward, backward, and simultaneously moving while turning)
  • A design to extend run time by minimizing battery power consumption
  • A regenerative braking system to recharge the battery during operation
  • A custom algorithm for brushless DC (BLDC) motors to enhance performance and reduce potential points of failure
  • Seamless integration with the product technology

The Impact

Boston Engineering’s project delivery turnaround helped the company meet deadlines and requirements set by its investors, such as dates for beta demonstrations. Since commercializing the robot less than five years ago, the start-up has established itself as one of the largest robotics companies in Massachusetts. The company is currently applying its technology to develop robots for autonomous applications in other industries.