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agBot Challenge hopes to produce innovations in precision agriculture

15 teams will take part in the competition

By Diego Flammini, Farms.com

Teams representing the educational and business sectors are entered to compete in the 2016 agBot Challenge, aimed at developing autonomous crop seeders with specific capabilities.

“The 2016 agBot Challenge will deliver a combination of progressive machinery with the software required to process data needed to virtually and economically manage crops,” says the competition’s website. “Unmanned seeding equipment through the usage of advanced communications systems will support all farmers!”

The challenge requires teams to produce unmanned, robotic equipment that:

  • Uses a BATS mobile tracking antennae
  • Provides real time data and video
  • Streams video from the front and back of the AgBot
  • Provides storage for video, observation and analytical data
  • Uses open or protected sources to control mechanical and electrical hardware
  • Plants at an assigned GPS location in two 30-inch rows
  • Plants a total of 12 rows, each being a half-mile long
  • Adds fertilizer to all 12 rows, 2” over and 0” down from seed
  • Operates between 3.5 and 10 miles an hour
  • Can dock and load fertilizer and two different seed varieties while communicating and weighing both

The bots must also be able to observe, report, control and intervene with different planting aspects including down pressure, seed weight, fertilizer rate, direction and speed.

The challenge is scheduled for Saturday, May 7th, 2016.

The 2017 agBot Challenge will focus on pest and weed identification and eradication. The 2018 edition of the competition will focus on robotics for harvesting.


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