Project Code: 16063
Project Title: Autonomous Macadamia Nut Harvester Enhancement
Project Type: Faculty
Project Intellectual Property: University Controlled
Project Citizenship Restriction: No
Sponsor Company: UA Department of Biosystems Engineering
Description: Macadamia nuts are typically harvested at the end of the season, which decreases nut quality and sale price. The team designed an autonomous nut harvester that ensures a regular harvest cycle and requires minimal operator monitoring. A preprogrammed path is uploaded to the GPS-connected autonomous navigation system. The harvester follows this path after a single initialization by the operator. A sensor prevents the harvester from colliding with obstacles, including humans and animals, by stopping harvester operation until the obstacle has moved. In an emergency the harvester alerts the operator via a smart device. A weight sensor alerts the navigation system when the bed is nearly full, and the harvester pauses on its route. It then heads to the dispensing location, dispenses its load through the base of the harvester, and returns to the route. This comprehensive harvesting prototype reduces demand for traditional machinery, harvests faster, and minimizes human intervention and overhead costs.