I am a young farmer with some electrical knowledge. The ag industry is predominantly made up of an older generation with minimal knowledge of technology. Anything ag related with an IC is ridiculously priced.
I'm going to try to explain this as if you have no knowledge of farming.
This is a sprayer:
This particular sprayer applies fertilizer, herbicides, etc to field crops. To do this properly the boom (arms) must be kept 20 inches off the ground. Keeping a 90 foot wide boom thats 40 feet behind me at a uniform height while traveling 7 mph over uneven ground is......shall we say tricky.
The boom is made of 3 individual sections, the left, center, and right sections. The center section is attached to the frame with a parallel linkage to adjust height. The left and right sections can be tilted up and down. All these functions are hydraulic and controlled by 12v solenoids which I operate from the cab with toggle switches.
I would like to automate the height control somehow. Commercial systems use an ultrasonic sensor on each section and tie this into the solenoids. The control box for these systems are basically an auto/manual switch and a toggle to adjust target height. These systems cost over $10,000. $10k for three ultrasonic sensors and some wiring.
I would like input as to whether it would be feasible to recreate one of these systems. The unit would have to work on both bare ground and fields with plants in them, react fast enough to lift over hills, not send the boom 10 feet into the air when passing over a tall weed, etc. Do you think its possible for a single person with basically no programming knowledge to be able to pull this off?
My basic dc electrical knowledge is strong. My arduino programming knowledge is basically turning a few leds on and off via infrared remote control. I'm really quite hopeless at anything outside of the tutorials. I have a homebuilt cnc mill to take care of any fabrication issues.