With hydraulics and Arduino-controlled solenoids, this is a straightforward solution if we build on top of Ardupilot Rover for remote control tractors. Ardupilot Rover takes care of remote control, programmable terrestrial vehicles. Since these are typically electric - the drive signal would need to be converted to solenoid drivers for hydraulic solenoids. Hydraulic solenoids constrol wheel motors and bucket/blade hydraulics.
- Use an off-the-shelf laser such as a $55 Laser Level with planar output, and an Arduino based microcontroller for logic.
- Mount a laser detector on a control post on a tractor/dozer bucket/blade. This requires the development of an open source, linear Z photodetector of approximately 1 meter length, which is mounted on the Z axis, on a control post on an autonomous tractor.
- Based on the nature of the site, fill is brought in from a digging location to raise the site, or work is simply begun if the height is sufficient.
- Set point is in the middle of the photodetector, approximately at the mid leveling point of the house lot to be graded
- Tractor operation is begun.
- Motion goes from end to end, with linear paths across the whole site, shifting by the width of the blade each time. Assumption is that the bulldozer pushing force is sufficient to adjust for 6" or larger depths at a time, so it never bogs down.
- If the detected Z level goes low, the tractor/dozer blade is raised.
- If the Z level goes high, the blade is lowered.
- In case of system hydraulic pressure in the wheel drive rising to a certain threshold, the blade is raised regardless of photodetector as a safety for not stalling the vehicle.