Purdue School of Engineering and Technology

Purdue School of Engineering and Technology

IUPUI Team Competes in agBOT Challenge 2017 with Robot that Identifies and Eradicates Specific Weeds in Corn Crops

June 23, 2017

IUPUI participated in the AgBOT Challenge 2016 and was awarded fourth place.

IUPUI participated in the AgBOT Challenge 2016 and was awarded fourth place.

The School of Engineering and Technology at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis has announced that a team of students will participate in agBOT Challenge 2017, which will be held June 25 at Gerrish Farms in Rockville, IN.

The IUPUI team, comprised of 12 mechanical, electrical engineering and computer science students, created a driverless robot that identifies and eradicates three types of weeds in corn fields with a minimal amount of chemicals or by removing them. It took the team a year to complete the project, spending the first six months designing and building the robot and the last six months integrating the electronics and developing software to autonomously control the agBOT as well as a weed detection algorithm to recognize and eradicate the weeds. The autonomous navigation of the robot is performed by controlling the vehicle via a precision GPS-guided system and using Google Earth.

"The IUPUI agBOT is a multi-disciplinary designed project that allows the participating students to apply the knowledge they gained in the classroom as well as through supervised research, and interact with students from other disciplines," said Dr. Sohel Anwar, associate professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering. "There's also a positive societal impact to what they do as they apply their knowledge of robotics for solutions to agricultural problems."

The IUPUI team will compete with other universities and entrepreneurial teams from across the world as they demonstrate innovations capable of autonomously moving through the fields to plant seeds, identify plant health with detection and eradication of weeds this weekend. In last year’s challenge, the IUPUI placed fourth among 11 teams.

"One goal of participating in this challenge is to help students to acquire additional experience and feel more confident about their engineering knowledge and formation," said Dr. Andres Tovar, assistant professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering. "The sense of reward in solving agricultural problems with robotics promotes their confidence in becoming an engineer."

The NextGen Expo will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on June 23. To kick off the weekend events, keynote speaker Ted McKinney, director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, will address the teams and audience at 10:15 a.m. During the NextGen Expo, attendees can engage with interactive exhibits from leading sponsors and participating universities, explore the farm, meet the innovative teams and see robotics in agriculture.

Muchowski Farms, CalPoly, Virginia Tech, Grit Robotics, Ohio State, Lairdscape and PeeDee Precision Ag will present their innovations in the Seeding Competition on June 24. On the following day, IUPUI, Purdue, North Star Robotics, University of Regina, Muchowski Farms, Gizmoze, Grit Robotics, Agribotist, PeeDee Precision Ag and Prairie Robotics will present innovations in the Weed & Feed Competition.

NextGen Expo is free and open to the public; all ages and groups are encouraged to pre-register online Tickets to attend the competition presentations can be purchased on the website: $7 for a one-day pass and $10 for a two-day pass, or they can be purchased at the gate. For more information on the events, please contact Rachel Gerrish, Senior Executive Producer,

About agBOT Challenge

The agBOT Challenge is a series of competitions set to propel innovation in technology and agriculture. With the assistance of sponsors, airBridge and Gerrish farms have created a series of competitions in which individuals, teams, universities, entrepreneurs, farmers etc. are challenged to build autonomous vehicles capable of performing agricultural tasks in the fields. At the annual event, each team of innovators has the opportunity to present their accomplishments to a crowd of supporters, influential leaders, and panel of judges in an effort to win the agBOT Challenge Champion title. For more information visit To learn more, follow the teams and event @AgBotChallenge.

About the School of Engineering and Technology at IUPUI:

The mission of the School of Engineering and Technology at IUPUI is to be one of the best urban university leaders in the disciplines of engineering and technology recognized locally, nationally and internationally. The school's goal is to provide students an education that will give them the leverage to be leaders in their communities, industry and society.