For more than 95 years, Schuitemaker has been manufacturing and selling professional equipment for agricultural use, such as for forage production, feeding and manure spreading. The strength of all Schuitemaker products is the simplicity and the user-friendliness in particular. Service, safety and durability are the key principles in this respect. Schuitemaker machines are being sold all over the world. Schuitemaker Industrial is particularly aimed at offering a total package of winter solutions for the Dutch market, from spreaders to snowploughs and from storage sheds to management systems.
Then, the Professional Doctorate in Engineering (PDEng) programme Robotics is very interesting for you. The PDEng programme is a 2-year post MSc technological programme with a focus on technological design. This programme at the University of Twente contain an educational part that will be followed at the University, and a design project that will be carried out at Schuitemaker Machines in Rijssen. The educational programme will have an in-depth and broadening character with ample attention for professional development and will be partly tailored to the design project. In collaboration with Schuitemaker, high level, creative and new designs for complex issues will be aimed at.
PDEng Design Project - For dairy farmers, up scaling is becoming increasingly important. Feeding is one of the most important daily routines in dairy farming, but time consuming. Automation of the feeding process will significantly improve the efficiency of dairy farming in terms of better performing livestock, saving costs of labor and more time and focus on other farm activities and family.
Schuitemaker decided to develop a complete autonomous solution and started to develop the Innovado in 2007. In 2012, the project has made a new start and improved both the feeding processes and the security system, as well as the operating system. The Innovado now uses commercial technologies that were not available in 2007. This has resulted in the current type https://youtu.be/Uw-pVl1Y45o.
The system architecture is based on the architecture of a production machine; that means that the system carries out sequential actions and follows a programmed route. The system cannot solve disruptions itself and depending on the kind of disruption, the farmer has to be called in. The used technologies for Innovado include GPS, RFID, IMU, Lidar, standard safety techniques, automotive PLC techniques and an IPC.
The next generation Innovado should allow be a more freely roaming vehicle that is capable of autonomously creating alternative paths and finding its way around obstacles.
The last PDEng assignment (finished in February 2017) covers these two aspects, first the development of proof of concepts for a new localization system and secondly the development of a path finding system. The theoretical prototype makes use of robot_localization in ROS and other proven models, but the map still has to be created manually at the moment.
The challenge of this PDEng project is to further develop this next generation machine to an working practical prototype of an autonomous robot, that is ready for the future and can be produced in series. In this next assignment the focus is on minimizing the implementation time of the robot, which automatically has to construct an map from its unknown operational environment, based on SLAM algorithms.
Questions for this assignment among others:
Is it possible in the current operational environment to successfully navigate and map with SLAM algorithms? If yes, select and prove during practical testing the suitable sensors for outdoor SLAM solutions.
Is it possible to vary the route as much as possible within its operating environment?
Make it possible (including practical tests) to replace or optimize the current object detection and safety system by means of other technologies? (vision?)
The exact planning and implementation of the hardware (test setups) will be established in further consultation.
We are searching for the best MSc graduated candidates (or graduates with several years of experience) in the field of robotics, with demonstrable engineering skills with ROS and affinity with design and multidisciplinary assignments. Besides, you must have the ambition and talent to accelerate in finding solutions / creating designs for complex robot technological issues with a multidisciplinary character. Important professional skills are English language skills, communication and interpersonal skills, teamwork, initiative and self‐reflection.
Candidates with a non-Dutch qualification and who have not had secondary and tertiary education in English can only be admitted with an IELTS-test showing a total band score of at least 6.5, internet TOEFL test (TOEFL-iBT) showing a score of at least 90, or a Cambridge CAE-C (CPE).