Coverage path planning (CPP) is a fundamental agricultural field task required for autonomous navigation systems. It is also important for resource management, increasingly demanding in terms of reducing costs and environmental polluting agents as well as increasing productivity. Additional problems arise when this task involves irregular agricultural terrains where the crop follows non-uniform configurations and extends over steep rocky slopes. For mountain vineyards, finding the optimal path to cover a restricted set of terraces, some of them with dead ends and with other constraints due to terrain morphology, is a great challenge. The problem involves other variables to be taken into account such as speed, direction and orientation of the vehicle, fuel consumption and tank capacities for chemical products. This article presents a decision graph-based approach, to solve a Rural Postman Coverage like problem using A* and Dijkstra algorithms simultaneously to find the optimal sequence of terraces that defines a selected partial coverage area of the vineyard. The decision structure is supported by a graph that contains all the information of the Digital Terrain Model (DTM) of the vineyard. In this first approach, optimality considers distance, cost and time requirements. The optimal solution was represented in a graphical user OpenGL application developed to support the path planning process. Based on the results, it was possible to prove the applicability of this approach for any vineyards which extend like routes. Near optimal solutions based on other specific criteria could also be considered for future work.
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- A Path Planning Application for a Mountain Vineyard Autonomous Robot