Radio-controlled Mower Travels on 40-deg Slopes Under Solar Panels (2)

2019/10/17 16:10
Shinichi Kato, Nikkei BP Intelligence Group, CleanTech Labo
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Continued from Radio-controlled Mower Travels on 40-deg Slopes Under Solar Panels (1)

When the radio-controlled grass cutter is used, the operator does not have to walk down the slopes and can cut grass without being affected by vibration and dust, unlike riding-type machines and self-running machines (Fig. 2), which are driven manually.

Fig. 2: Self-running grass cutter (source: Kubota)

For operation of the radio-controlled grass cutter, an operation terminal similar to the ones used to control hobby-use radio-controlled cars (Fig. 3) is used. The operator can easily move the vehicle forward/backward and turn it to the left/right by using the two levers on both sides of the terminal. Safe grass cutting operation is ensured because turning the cutting blade on or off and stopping the engine can be done remotely.

Fig. 3: Easy-to-operate terminal similar to ones for hobby use (source: Kubota)

The machine runs stably on slopes up to 40° because of the structure. The center of gravity is on the mountain side (upper side of slopes) of the body, and the width is doubled for the wheels on the valley side (lower side of slopes).

Heavy parts including the engine were mounted on the mountain side of the body to stabilize the center of gravity during travel and reduce the risk of turnover. A two-cycle engine was incorporated in the machine. The wheels are made of iron with spikes so that they easily dig into the ground.

The right side of the body has to be on the mountain side and the left side on the valley side. Therefore, the vehicle is not turned around after traveling a certain distance, unlike driving type or manually operated self-running grass cutters. Like a switchback system for mountain railways, the grass cutter runs forward and then backward while shifting its course on the slope in a step-like pattern.

The front part of the machine is colored orange and the rear side is colored black for a clear distinction to avoid mistakes in identifying the direction of the body and the traveling direction (Fig. 4). As for the radio-controller operation, only the lever on the right side is used for turning to the left or right, and the vehicle always moves to the mountain side when the lever on the right side is moved to the right, to ensure easy understanding and to prevent mistakes in operation.

Fig. 4: Front part colored orange; rear part colored black (source: Kubota)